Evaluating Syndrome Definitions in the Extended Syndromic Surveillance Ontology


The Extended Syndromic Surveillance Ontology (ESSO) is an open source terminological ontology designed to facilitate the text mining of clinical reports in English [1,2]. At the core of ESSO are 279 clinical concepts (for example, fever, confusion, headache, hallucination, fatigue) grouped into eight syndrome categories (rash, hemorrhagic, botulism, neurological, constitutional, influenza-like-illness, respiratory, and gastrointestinal). In addition to syndrome groupings, each concept is linked to synonyms, variant spellings and UMLS Concept Unique Identifiers. ESSO builds on the Syndromic Surveillance Ontology [3], a resource developed by a working group of eighteen researchers representing ten syndromic surveillance systems in North America. ESSO encodes almost three times as many clinical concepts as the Syndromic Surveillance Ontology, and incorporates eight syndrome categories, in contrast to the Syndromic Surveillance Ontology's four (influenza-like-illness, constitutional, respiratory and gastrointestinal). The new clinical concepts and syndrome groupings in ESSO were developed by a board-certified infectious disease physician (author JD) in conjunction with an informaticist (author MC).


In order to evaluate and audit these new syndrome definitions, we initiated a survey of syndromic surveillance practitioners. We present the results of an online survey designed to evaluate syndrome definitions encoded in the Extended Syndromic Surveillance Ontology.

Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2011

May 02, 2019

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