Utilization of Syndromic Surveillance with Multiple Data Sources to Enhance Public Health Response


In the event of a large-scale public health crisis, successfully detecting and assessing health threats and monitoring population health status over a sustained period of time is likely to require integration of information from multiple sources. In addition, this information must be shared at varying levels of detail both among different agencies or organizations within an affected locality and among response participants at local, state, and federal levels of government. In early 2007, the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) proposed a project to support member initiated consultations on priority unresolved questions in the field of syndromic surveillance (SS) research, development, or practice. The Duval County Health Department sought and obtained ISDS support to address the use of SS data in combination with other human health and veterinary surveillance data, environmental sampling data, and plume modeling results in the event of an airborne bioterrorist (BT) attack. To date, the development of SS in Florida has mainly focused on systems that monitor information from emergency department (ED) visits. In addition, because SS development was decentralized and managed primarily by county health departments, various systems were used in Florida, including ESSENCE, STARS, EARS and BioDefend.


The objective of this consultation was to develop expert, consensus-based recommendations for use of SS in combination with other human health, animal health, and environmental data sources to improve situational awareness in the event of a large-scale public health emergency. The consultation, convened by the Duval County, Florida, Health Department, involved other local and state public health offi cials from Florida who addressed this question in the context of a hypothetical BT attack scenario in Duval County. Insights arising from the consultation will be used to strengthen public health surveillance capacities as part of both local and state emergency preparedness efforts in Florida. The approach used by the consultation may be useful to other health departments seeking to enhance their emergency situational awareness capacity.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2009

October 12, 2017

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