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1 In communicable disease control, locating, identifying, and assessing persons who have had intimate or close contact with a diagnosed case of contagious disease, such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases; also identification and assessment of persons who may have been exposed to contaminated food in an outbreak of food poisoning. Ethical issues may arise when case-finding involves invasion of privacy. See also contact tracing.

2 In clinical practice, especially in primary care, opportunistic case-finding in the course of routine medical examinations for other purposes yields new cases of conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc., leading to earlier intervention than would otherwise occur. Case-finding is preferred, rather than screening, as the optimal way to detect hypertension.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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