Comparison of statistical algorithms for syndromic surveillance aberration detection

Syndromic surveillance involves monitoring big health datasets to provide early warning of threats to public health. Public health authorities use statistical detection algorithms to interrogate these datasets for aberrations that are indicative of emerging threats. The algorithm currently in use at Public Health England (PHE) for syndromic surveillance is the ‘rising activity, multi-level mixed effects, indicator emphasis’ (RAMMIE) method (Morbey et al, 2015), which fits a mixed model to counts of syndromes on a daily basis.

January 21, 2018

Updating syndromic surveillance baselines following public health interventions

Public Health England's syndromic surveillance service monitor presentations for gastrointestinal illness to detect increases in health care seeking behaviour driven by infectious gastrointestinal disease. We use regression models to create baselines for expected activity and then identify any periods of signficant increases. The introduction of a rotavirus vaccine in England during July 2013 (Bawa, Z. et al. 2015) led to a reduction in incidence of the disease, requiring a readjustment of baselines.

Objective:

January 21, 2018

Using real-time syndromic surveillance to monitor the health effects of air pollution

The negative effect of air pollution on human health is well documented illustrating increased risk of respiratory, cardiac and other health conditions. Currently, during air pollution episodes Public Health England (PHE) syndromic surveillance systems provide a near real-time analysis of the health impact of poor air quality.

January 21, 2018

What value can Google search data add to existing syndromic surveillance systems?

Globally, there have been various studies assessing trends in Google search terms in the context of public health surveillance1. However, there has been a predominant focus on individual health outcomes such as influenza, with limited evidence on the added value and practical impact on public health action for a range of diseases and conditions routinely monitored by existing surveillance programmes. A proposed advantage is improved timeliness relative to established surveillance systems.

January 25, 2018

Syndromic Surveillance Revolution? Public Health Benefits of Modernizing the Emergency Care Patient Health Record in England

Emergency medicine is a recognized specialty in the United Kingdom (UK), with formal training and accreditation conducted and governed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Health care in the UK is publicly funded and provided by the National Health Service (NHS) through a residence-based (rather than insurance-based) system. Emergency care within emergency departments (EDs) is currently provided free at the point of delivery for everyone, including non-UK residents.

August 28, 2017

Infant fever trends following the launch of the meningococcal B vaccine in the UK

From 1 September 2015, babies in the United Kingdom (UK) born on/after 1 July 2015 became eligible to receive the MenB vaccine, given at 2 and 4 months of age, with a booster at 12 months. Early trials found a high prevalence of fever (over 38°C) in babies given the vaccine with other routine vaccines at 2 and 4 months. We used syndromic surveillance data to assess whether there had been increased family doctor (general practitioner (GP)) consultations for fever in young infants following the introduction of the vaccine. 

Objective

July 06, 2017

Key elements of infectious disease syndromic surveillance systems: A scoping review

Syndromic surveillance is an alternative type of public health surveillance which utilizes pre-diagnostic data sources to detect outbreaks earlier than conventional (laboratory) surveillance and monitor the progression of illnesses in populations. These systems are often noted for their ability to detect a wider range of cases in under- reported illnesses, utilize existing data sources, and alert public health authorities of emerging crises.

July 10, 2017

Interpreting specific and general respiratory indicators in syndromic surveillance

Public Health England (PHE) uses syndromic surveillance systems to monitor for seasonal increases in respiratory illness. Respiratory illnesses create a considerable burden on health care services and therefore identifying the timing and intensity of peaks of activity is important for public health decision-making. Furthermore, identifying the incidence of specific respiratory pathogens circulating in the community is essential for targeting public health interventions e.g. vaccination.

July 10, 2017

Syndromic surveillance of air pollution incidents across international borders

The impact of poor air quality (AQ) on human health is a global issue, with periods of poor AQ known to occur in multiple locations, across different countries at, or around the same time. The Public Health England (PHE) Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance System (EDSSS) is a public health legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, monitoring anonymised daily attendance data in near real-time from a sentinel network of up to 38 EDs across England and Northern Ireland during 2014.

August 20, 2017

“That was then, this is now” improving public health syndromic surveillance baselines

Syndromic surveillance systems are used by Public Health England (PHE) to detect changes in health care activity that are indicative of potential threats to public health. By providing early warning and situational awareness, these systems play a key role in supporting infectious disease surveillance programmes, decision making and supporting public health interventions. In order to improve the identification of unusual activity, we created new baselines to model seasonally expected activity in the absence of outbreaks or other incidents.

August 20, 2017

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