Data Deluge: How Covid-19 Reshaped the Surveillance of Infectious Diseases in Switzerland

May 23, 2024, 4.00 pm - 5.00 pm

Eawag Dübendorf, room FC C20 & online

Dr. Ing. Katrin Schneider, Federal Office of Public Health FOPH, Berne, Switzerland

The seminar is open to the public. To join online, please contact for access details.


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a watershed moment for public health, significantly transforming the surveillance of infectious diseases worldwide. In Switzerland, the necessity for these transformations became evident as the sudden onslaught of cases in February 2020 overwhelmed the existing mandatory declaration system for infectious diseases, exposing critical vulnerabilities in data collection, analysis, and dissemination. During the pandemic, the surveillance system was rapidly and continuously improved and adapted to gather the relevant information for policymakers to define appropriate public health measures. Several new surveillance systems were established, as for instance genomic surveillance and wastewater monitoring, giving rise to an elaborate mosaic of complementary information. At the same time, data management and infrastructure were continuously improved to handle the increased volume and complexity of information. 

This talk explores the pivotal changes in surveillance methodologies, infrastructure and data management strategies that emerged during the pandemic, and critically examines their implications for the future of the surveillance of infectious diseases in Switzerland. It explores the ongoing efforts in Switzerland to institutionalize the lessons learned from the pandemic, including strategic investments in digital health infrastructure, strengthening data science, and enabling data sharing and transparency while ensuring data privacy. As the world moves towards a future marked by the likelihood of emerging infectious threats, these initiatives will be crucial for building a resilient public health surveillance system that can respond effectively in crisis situations.