Surveillance of imported infectious diseases is important because of the need for early detection of outbreaks of international concern as well as information of risk to the travelers. This paper attempts to review how the Japanese surveillance system deals with imported infectious diseases and reviews the trend of these diseases. The cases of acquired infection overseas were extracted from the surveillance data in 1999-2008. The incidence and rate of imported cases of a series of infectious diseases with more than one imported case were observed by the year of diagnosis and place of acquired infection. During the period 10,030 cases that could be considered to be imported infectious diseases were identified. Shigellosis ranked as the most common imported disease, followed by amebiasis, malaria, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, typhoid fever, dengue fever, hepatitis A, giardiasis, cholera, and paratyphoid fever. The annual trends of these diseases always fluctuated but not every change was investigated. The study reveals that the situation of imported infectious diseases can be identified in the current Japanese surveillance system with epidemiologic features of both temporal and geographic distribution of cases of imported infectious diseases. However, further timely investigation for unusual increase in infectious diseases is needed.
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