Repeat capture–recapture studies as part of the evaluation of the surveillance of Legionnaires' disease in France
We evaluated improvements made to the mandatory notification surveillance system for Legionnaires' disease in France by estimating its sensitivity in 1995 and 1998 using a repeat capture–recapture method. A case of Legionnaires' disease was defined as a person treated for pneumonia in whom legionella had been detected. Patient details were collected from (1) mandatory notifications; (2) the National Reference Centre for Legionella; (3) a postal survey of all hospital laboratories. The three sources were cross-matched and 715 individual cases were identified. A log-linear model, which included an interaction term between mandatory notifications and both the National Reference Centre and Laboratory sources, provided an estimated total of 1124 cases (95% CI 973–1275) in 1998, a twofold increase compared with 1995. The sensitivity of the surveillance system improved from 10% in 1995 to 33% (95% CI 29–38%) in 1998. Capture-recapture methods are important tools in the evaluation of surveillance systems.(Accepted February 20 2003)
c1 Département de Maladies Infectieuses, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, 12 rue du Val d'Osne, 94415 Saint Maurice, France.