Organisation

The Swiss Paediatric Surveillance Unit (SPSU) is a national system for monitoring rare paediatric conditions and rare complications of more common illnesses among children hospitalised in Switzerland. The SPSU is sponsored by the Swiss Society of Paediatrics (SSP/SGP) and the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). It consists of a simple, flexible active reporting system, involving minimal paperwork and enabling a rapid response to epidemiological emergencies. Since January 1995, the SPSU has facilitated monitoring of conditions where adequate numbers of cases can only be ascertained via multicentre surveillance across Switzerland.

Each month, the SPSU Secretariat distributes reporting cards on selected topics to senior physicians at all centres where paediatric patients are hospitalised. On these cards, only the number of illnesses/complications observed in the past month is to be recorded. The cards are to be returned even if no cases have been diagnosed. In the event of positive reports, the SPSU notifies the leaders of the studies concerned, who send out supplementary questionnaires. Details of the individual studies can be found in the specific project descriptions which are distributed to participating hospitals when studies are commenced.