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Syndrome definitions for drug overdose: How far down the rabbit hole do we go?


State and local jurisdictions have been exploring the use of SyS data to monitor suspected drug overdose outbreaks in their communities. With the increasing awareness and use of SyS systems, staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked to develop several queries that jurisdictions could use to better capture suspected drug overdose visits. In 2017, CDC released their first two queries on heroin overdose and opioid overdose, followed in 2018 by stimulant and all drug overdose queries. Over time, and with the assistance from the SyS community and the CDC-funded Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) state health departments, CDC has revised the queries to address suggestions from jurisdictions. However, it'™s not clear how often and in what way the syndrome definitions are updated over time. This is particularly true as new drugs emerge and the names of those drugs are integrated into syndrome definitions (e.g., recent Spice and œK2 synthetic cannabinoid outbreaks).

Objective: To discuss the process for developing and revising suspected drug overdose queries in syndromic surveillance (SyS) systems.

Submitted by elamb on