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From Ebola to Heroin; the Use of EMS Data for Near Real Time Alerting and Surviellance


Arguably the two most significant public health issues over the past two years have been the outbreak of ebola in West Africa and the rising epidemic of heroin use and overdoses. In the case of Ebola, the CDC issued guidance for inpatient facilities to screen for potential cases, however, there was little guidance for screening patients that presented to EMS workers. The West African pateint aht presented to the Emergency Department in Dallas was transported, unknowingly, by EMS, potentially exposing them and others to this deadly disease. Likewise, heroin has become an exploding epidemic in the United States with deaths from overdoses skyrocketing across the country. There are few data sources for overdoses that can alert and track real time instances of heroin overdose which are arguably the highest risk patients in the community. This will make it difficult for interventions in the community as expressed recently by the White House.


The objective of this oral presentation is to describe the use of near real time 911 Emergency Medical Services data in looking for suspected cases of Ebola and heroin cases in the community.

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