The role and impact of a biosurveillance system on the detection and response to disease outbreaks or adverse weather-related health events were studied by the following activities: 1) case studies of biosurveillance system use in North Carolina and Texas in 2007; 2) a case study of an itch mite outbreak in Illinois in 2007; 3) a case study of the North Carolina Heat Wave of 2007; 4) a review of syndromic surveillance systems in the U.S.; 5) data quality improvement activities for NCDETECT to assess wider applicability to other systems; 6) a paper describing a framework for evaluating the costs of biosurveillance; and 7) discussions with biosurveillance users to identify key needs and requirements for future biosurveillance systems.
Biosurveillance systems had some limited utility in early detection of illness and case detection; but did enhance situational awareness of scale, scope and spread of an outbreak or event, and identification of new risk groups. Systems also improved timeliness of response and accuracy and speed of communication to the public. Syndromic surveillance systems complemented traditional surveillance, facilitated monitoring of non-reportable diseases and reportable diseases not well reported, and enhanced public health credibility and authority by getting information out to public and stakeholders quickly. Use of syndromic surveillance systems in one of the cases led to more detailed information on populations at risk in a heat wave and led the state to revise its recommendations accordingly.
Report Title: BioSense Evaluation: The Role of Biosurveillance During An Outbreak
Agency Sponsor: CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Contact: Taha Kass-Hout, 404-498-2014
Performer: Research Triangle Institute
Record ID: 9410 (Report issued January 1, 2010)