computer safeguards for securing the system and protecting its data must allow authorized access while denying access by unauthorized users.

  • Which diseases will be monitored?

The epidemiological pattern in Iran is undergoing a transition from infectious diseases to chronic diseases. Iran faces an increasing burden of chronic diseases mainly due to changing lifestyle behaviors. Thus, chronic diseases are now the greatest health problems in Iran. Indeed, there is a sense of urgency in the need to enhance the capacity for surveillance of chronic diseases (or non-communicable diseases) in Iran. However we think that a surveillance system can and should monitor communicable and non-communicable diseases, pollution, and road traffic accidents. Road accident is emerging as one of the major killers.

  • To what extent will surveillance for food-borne/enteric diseases be integrated with other, pre-existing surveillance programs in Iran (e.g., those for cholera, TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS)? Is it a matter of "adding a few more diseases to the list" or creating a new, more vertically integrated system?

We are more interested in an integrated system in order to avoid the duplication of effort and lack of standardization that can arise from independent systems.

  • What laboratory resources will be available, how will isolates be collected and transported, what techniques will be employed to characterize them (e.g., salmonella serotyping, molecular subtyping, antibiotic susceptibility, sequencing), and how quickly will these laboratory data be available to epidemiologists?

Facilities for microbial culture, characterization, and genotyping by direct automated sequencing or pyro-sequencing, or antibiotic susceptibility testing (by either traditional disc-based methods or newer genotype-based methods and molecular sub-typing) are available.

If the techniques could be used efficiently, results could be available to epidemiologists within a few hours to days.

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