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Syndromic surveillance for local outbreak detection and awareness: evaluating outbreak signals of acute gastroenteritis in telephone triage, web-based queries and over-the-counter pharmacy sales
Department of Mathematics, Stockholm University, Sweden and Swedish Institute for National Food Agency (SLV), Sweden and Communicable Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden.
Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden, and Inera AB, Sweden.
Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden.
Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden.
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2014 (English)In: Epidemiology and Infection, ISSN 0950-2688, E-ISSN 1469-4409, Vol. 142, no 2, 303-313 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For the purpose of developing a national system for outbreak surveillance, local outbreak signals were compared in three sources of syndromic data - telephone triage of acute gastroenteritis, web queries about symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmacy sales of antidiarrhoeal medication. The data sources were compared against nine known waterborne and foodborne outbreaks in Sweden in 2007-2011. Outbreak signals were identified for the four largest outbreaks in the telephone triage data and the two largest outbreaks in the data on OTC sales of antidiarrhoeal medication. No signals could be identified in the data on web queries. The signal magnitude for the fourth largest outbreak indicated a tenfold larger outbreak than officially reported, supporting the use of telephone triage data for situational awareness. For the two largest outbreaks, telephone triage data on adult diarrhoea provided outbreak signals at an early stage, weeks and months in advance, respectively, potentially serving the purpose of early event detection. In conclusion, telephone triage data provided the most promising source for surveillance of point-source outbreaks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press, 2014. Vol. 142, no 2, 303-313 p.
Keyword [en]
foodborne infections, outbreaks, statistics, syndromic surveillance, waterborne infections
National Category
Clinical Medicine Infectious Medicine Environmental Health and Occupational Health
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71142DOI: 10.1017/S0950268813001088ISI: 000332524300010PubMedID: 23672877OAI: diva2:622134
Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2014-07-01Bibliographically approved

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