Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: Case reporting at a university hospital

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Planning and allocating resources for care of patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) requires accurate assessment of disease incidence.


To assess the accuracy and completeness of AIDS case reporting at our institution, we reviewed all inpatient and outpatient records of patients with AIDS seen at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, between January 1983 and July 1990.


The patients were identified through review of hospital discharge summaries, ambulatory clinic listings, and laboratory identification of opportunistic infections.


We found that 24 of 291 AIDS cases (8%) seen at this institution had not been reported to state health departments. Of the 24 patients with unreported AIDS, 16 had received an AIDS diagnosis at other institutions, 11 had never been hospitalized at this institution, and 2 had used pseudonyms.


Review of AIDS case reporting can ascertain the magnitude of underreporting; the profile of patients who were unreported may be used to evaluate the accuracy of reporting elsewhere and to identify systematic problems in case reporting methods.


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