Nov 9, 2018

A proof of concept for a syndromic surveillance system based on routine ambulance records in the South-West of England, for the influenza season 2016/17.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Thilo Reich, Marcin Budka


The introduction of electronic patient records in the ambulance service provides new opportunities to monitor the population. Most patients presenting to British ambulance services are discharged at scene. Ambulance records are therefore an ideal data source for syndromic early event detection systems to monitor infectious disease in the prehospital population. It has been previously found that tympanic temperature records can be used to detect influenza outbreaks in emergency departments. This study investigated whether routine tympanic temperature readings collected by ambulance crews can be used to detect seasonal influenza. Here we show that these temperature readings do allow the detection of seasonal influenza before methods applied to conventional data sources. The counts of pyretic patients were used to calculate a sliding case ratio (CR) as a measurement to detect seasonal influenza outbreaks. This method does not rely on conventional thresholds and can be adapted to the data. The data collected correlated with seasonal influenza. The 2016/17 outbreak was detected with high specificity and sensitivity, up to 9 weeks before other surveillance programs. An unanticipated outbreak of E. coli was detected in the same datase...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Electronic Health Records
Influenza virus vaccine
Pharmacologic Substance
Influenza A virus
Unlisted Ambulance Service
Infectious Agent

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