Developing, Evaluating, and Disseminating Definitions for Syndromic Surveillance in Public Health Practice: A Guidance Document

This document, released February 18, 2019, focuses on several key areas related to syndrome definition creation, including the basics behind a syndrome definition, steps to build a syndrome, evaluation of a new (or old) definition, and dissemination.

February 19, 2019

Acute Flaccid Myelitis – Surveillance updates and CDC activities, 2018

Presented December 20, 2018.

The presentation will provide a summary of the epidemiology of AFM during the increase in cases in 2018 and updates on CDC’s AFM activities.


Adriana Lopez, MHS, Epidemiologist, Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases 

Zach Stein, MPH, Syndromic Surveillance Analyst, ICF Contractor Supporting Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services 

December 21, 2018

Comparing and Contrasting Two ESSENCE Syndrome Definition Query Methods

The Kansas Syndromic Surveillance Program (KSSP) utilizes the ESSENCE v.1.20 program provided by the National Syndromic Surveillance Program to view and analyze Kansas Emergency Department (ED) data. Methods that allow an ESSENCE user to query both the Discharge Diagnosis (DD) and Chief Complaint (CC) fields simultaneously allow for more specific and accurate syndromic surveillance definitions. As ESSENCE use increases, two common methodologies have been developed for querying the data in this way.

January 25, 2018

Developing and Validating a Fireworks-Related Syndrome Definition in Kansas

Across the U.S.A., multiple people seek treatment for fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th holiday. Syndromic surveillance in Kansas allows for near real-time analysis of the injuries occurring during the firework selling season. During the 2017 July 4th holiday, the Kansas Syndromic Surveillance Program (KSSP) production data feed received data from 88 EDs at excellent quality and timeliness. Previous and current firework safety messaging in Kansas is dependent on voluntary reporting from hospitals across the state.

January 25, 2018

Creation of a Kansas Spring Extreme Weather Syndrome Definition and Unique Records

Kansas storms can occur without warning and have potential to cause a multitude of health issues. Extreme weather preparedness and event monitoring for public health effects is being developed as a function of syndromic surveillance at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The Syndromic Surveillance Program at KDHE utilized emergency department (ED) data to detect direct health effects of the weather events in the first 9 months of 2016.

August 21, 2017

Carbon Monoxide Exposure V2 - Kansas Department of Health and Environment

KDHE has updated the exhisting CO Poisoning Surveillance queries. Version 1 can be found here

Previously, we were querying for carbon monoxide-related cases by using the NSSP ESSENCE SubSyndrome for COPoisoning coupled with an ICD10 CM diagnosis code query. SubSyndrome and ICD10 queries had to be run separately and then combined and de-duplicated.

September 24, 2018

Gunshot Injuries - Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Responding to an ask on the ISDS forums (, KDHE made a first attempt at a Gunshot Injury query for Kansas syndromic data. There are a lot of other versions of GSW queries in this forum post. I recommend looking over the thread.

November 19, 2018

Acute Flaccid Myelitis Diagnosis Codes - Kansas Department of Health and Environment

This syndrome was created to query ESSENCE for KS ED visits potentially associated with Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM). Diagnosis codes were provided to KDHE by a CDC AFM contact and originally included approximately 100 codes that could encompass most presentations of AFM. This code reflects a shortened list selecting those codes deemed most likely to accurately reflect AFM.

Syndromic Surveillance System - NSSP ESSENCE

Data Source - Emergency Room Visits

Fields Used - Discharge Diagnosis History

October 27, 2017

Rabies Exposure and PEP - Kansas Department of Health and Environment

This syndrome was created to query NSSP ESSENCE on Rabies Exposure and Rabies PEP S

Syndromic Surveillance System - NSSP ESSENCE

Data source - Emergency Room Visits

Fields used - Chief Complaint History and Discharge Diagnosis History OR CCDD (an ESSENCE-concatenated field of Chief Complaint and Discharge Diagnosis)

October 27, 2017

Language Barriers - CDC

This syndrome is a work-in-progress and was created to experiment with Chief Complaint text indicating a language barrier between medical professionals and patient and/or an interpreter is needed to provide medical care.

This was developed on the NSSP ESSENCE CCQV data in the Processed Chief Complaint field. I suspect Triage Notes would also contain this type of information if you receive that field.

April 05, 2019


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