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The New York State BioSense Sentinel Alert Experience


In addition to monitoring Emergency Department chief complaint data and pharmacy sales as indicators of outbreaks, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Syndromic Surveillance System also monitors information from the CDC’s Early Event Detection and Situational Awareness System, BioSense. BioSense includes Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient clinical data (ICD-9-CM diagnoses and CPT procedure codes), and LabCorp test order data. Within NYS excluding New York City, there are a total of 7 DOD and 60 VA hospitals and/or clinics reporting to the BioSense system, located across 41 of 57 counties.

BioSense includes a Sentinel Alert system, which monitors for diagnoses of CDC-classified Category A, B, and C diseases that have been reported from DOD and VA facilities. Sentinel Alerts are issued for single disease records, and can be followed up at local discretion to assess for public health significance and to determine whether the source of the disease might be intentional.



To describe the NYSDOH's experience with the monitoring of Sentinel Alerts generated for NYS within the CDC’s BioSense application, following up each alert with local health department staff to determine case resolution, and providing user-level feedback to the CDC to effect system improvements.

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