In this paper we have investigated "to what degree patients trust their regular doctor to be fully informed about the prevalence of infectious diseases in their neighbourhood", and what general practitioners (GPs) actually know. A representative sample of one thousand Norwegians (potential patients) was interviewed by telephone, and 13 GPs were interviewed individually or in focus groups. Nearly half of the patients trusted their GP to be more or less "fully informed" about the prevalence of infectious diseases in their neighbourhoods, while the GPs in reality were not well informed. We conclude that new surveillance solutions are needed. One promising approach is electronic retrieval of symptom data directly from patients.