ED and poison center surveillance for the Great American Solar Eclipse in Oregon


Oregon’s statewide syndromic surveillance system (Oregon ESSENCE) has been operational since 2012. Non-federal emergency department data (and several of their associated urgent care centers) are the primary source for the system, although other data sources have been added, including de-identified call data from OPC in 2016. OPHD epidemiologists have experience monitoring mass gatherings and have a strong relationship with OPC, collaborating on a regular basis for routine and heightened public health surveillance. Nevertheless, surveillance for the Great American Solar Eclipse (August 2017) presented a challenge due to the 107 reported simultaneous statewide eclipse-watching events planned for the day of the eclipse (some with estimated attendance of greater than 30,000 people and most in rural or frontier regions of the state). Scientific literature is limited on mass gathering surveillance in the developed world, particularly in rural settings, so OPC and OPHD worked together to develop a list of health conditions of interest, including some that would warrant both an ED visit and a call to OPC (e.g., snake bites). Monitoring visits in both data sources in would allow for assessment of total burden on the healthcare system, especially in the case of snake bites where only specific bites require administration of anti-venom.


Identify surveillance priorities for emergency department (ED) and Oregon Poison Center (OPC) data ahead of the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse gatherings in Oregon and create a suite of queries for use in the Health Intelligence Section of the Oregon Public Health Division (OPHD) Incident Management Team (IMT).

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January, 2018

January 25, 2018

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