Utility of 911 Ambulance Dispatch Data for the Syndromic Surveillance of Heat-Related Illness in Toronto, Ontario, 2002-2005


Although the majority of work in syndromic surveillance has been its application to bioterrorism and infectious diseases, one of the emerging priorities for its use is for the monitoring of environmental health conditions. Heat-related illness (HRI) is of growing public health importance, especially with global warming concerns and increased frequency of heat waves. Ambient temperatures are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality, as was demonstrated during the 1995 heat wave in Chicago that resulted in over 700 excess deaths and 33,000 emergency room visits due to HRI. A syndromic surveillance system that is able to detect early indications of excess HRI may start the public health response earlier, and thus reduce associated morbidity and mortality. The utility of 911 ambulance dispatch data for the early detection of heat-related illness was explored.



This paper describes the use of 911 ambulance dispatch data for the early detection of HRI in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
October, 2006

July 30, 2018

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