Using real-time syndromic surveillance to monitor the health effects of air pollution


The negative effect of air pollution on human health is well documented illustrating increased risk of respiratory, cardiac and other health conditions. Currently, during air pollution episodes Public Health England (PHE) syndromic surveillance systems provide a near real-time analysis of the health impact of poor air quality. In England, syndromic surveillance has previously been used on an ad hoc basis to monitor health impact; this has usually happened during widespread national air pollution episodes where the air pollution index has reached "High"™ or "Very High"™ levels on the UK Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI). We now aim to undertake a more systematic approach to understanding the utility of syndromic surveillance for monitoring the health impact of air pollution. This would improve our understanding of the sensitivity and specificity of syndromic surveillance systems for contributing to the public health response to acute air pollution incidents; form a baseline for future interventions; assess whether syndromic surveillance systems provide a useful tool for public health alerting; enable us to explore which pollutants drive changes in health-care seeking behaviour; and add to the knowledge base.


To explore the utility of syndromic surveillance systems for detecting and monitoring the impact of air pollution incidents on health-care seeking behaviour in England between 2012 and 2017.

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Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2018

January 21, 2018

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