Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance

PAEDS is a joint initiative of the australian paediatric surveillance unit and national centre for immunisation research and surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases.

The Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) project was initiated in 2007 and is coordinated by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) and the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). PAEDS is funded by the Population Health Division of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and is modeled on the Canadian IMPACT (Immunization Monitoring Program ACTive) system which includes 12 paediatric hopitals across Canada. PAEDS has proven the feasibility of conducting hospital-based surveillance for uncommon, serious, vaccine-related childhood conditions in Australia. PAEDS is an important capacity building initiative to enhance existing public health surveillance relevant to vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDS), with the ultimate aim of improving child health outcomes.

The unique aspects of PAEDS include its capacity for:

  • Ascertainment of cases unlikely to be detected through existing surveillance systems
  • Timely case ascertainment and data review with weekly uploads into a central database
  • Data not obtained by other means eg. vaccination, presentation, treatment and outcome
  • Collection and analysis of biological samples linked to clinical data for the same patient
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to urgent or emerging conditions; outbreaks or epidemics
  • Population-based studies where populations around a reporting hospital are well defined
  • Potential for verification of conditions included in data linkage initiatives, e.g. adverse events

A network of clinicians and public health researchers was established in four tertiary paediatric hospitals and has now expanded to include a fifth site. Hospitals involved in PAEDS include:

  • The Children's Hospital at Westmead Sydney
  • Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
  • Women's and Children's Hospital Adelaide
  • Princess Margaret Hospital Perth
  • Royal Children’s Hospital Brisbane

Each PAEDS site employs a surveillance nurse(s) with a project coordinator based at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. A centralised database, data management procedures, and communication strategy for the network has been established and is managed by the coordinating centre at Westmead.

Current Conditions under surveillance

PAEDS has demonstrated the capacity to respond rapidly and to provide timely detailed data on emerging diseases. An emergency grant under the recent swine flu H1N1 initiative of the NHMRC enabled PAEDS to include surveillance for children hospitalised with influenza during the global pandemic in 2009. Additional funding obtained from NSW Health has allowed us to extend this influenza surveillance to include Sydney Children's Hospital and John Hunter Hospital, thereby increasing surveillance coverage during the pandemic.


PAEDS Study Group


  • Prof Elizabeth Elliott, A/Prof Yvonne Zurynski - APSU
  • Prof Peter McIntyre, Prof Robert Booy, A/Prof Kristine Macartney and Dr Nicholas Wood - NCIRS 
  • Prof Jim Buttery and A/Prof Jenny Royle - Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne
  • Prof Mike Gold and Dr Helen Marshall - Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
  • A/Prof Peter Richmond and Dr Christopher Blythe - Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth

Project Coordinator/Research Nurse

  • Ms Jenny Murphy – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Sydney
  • Ms Jocelynne McRae – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Sydney

Research Nurses/Staff at PAEDS sites

  • Christine Heath, Mary Walker, Kirsten Zyhajlo and Susan Lee - Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
  • Christine Robins, Caroline Talbot and Rebecca Clarke - Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth
  • Alissa McMinn, Donna Lee, Georgie Lewis, Julie Quinn, Leonie Hickie, Tammy Hutchinson and Victoria Scott - Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne