medical-voice-for-policy-change] Investigative public health, the scope of public health detectives

Dr K K Aggarwal

President Heart Care Foundation of India

The time has come for investigative public health department with appointment of public health detectives. Every preventable death should be audited, and every index case of any communicable disease should be traced for the source.


  1. The monsoon season is coming, and every first reported case of dengue should be traced for its origin
  2. Typhoid is continuing (summer to monsoon) and every case in the community should be investigated for the common source of food. Recently in US they traced typhoid in patients who ate fresh papayas imported from Mexico and sold in a common food store
  3. Every case of gene expert positive TB should be traced for the source as well as in all contacts
  4. Every unexplained death should have post-mortem X ray, CT, MRI or mini tissue biopsied to know the cause
  5. Any new symptoms should be reported to the public health
  6. First index case should be traced in diseases like diphtheria, flu, acute food poisoning etc.
  7.  The department should provide free investigations for the illnesses.