Preparing Biosurveillance Data for Classic Monitoring

Modern surveillance systems use statistical process control (SPC) charts such as Cumulative Sum and Exponentially Weighted Moving Average charts for monitoring daily counts of such quantities as ICD-9 codes from ED visits, sales of medications, and doctors’ office visits. The working assumption is that such pre-clinical data contain an early signature of disease outbreaks, manifested as an increase in the count levels. However, the direct application of SPC charts to the raw counts leads to unreliable performance.

July 30, 2018

Estimation And Validation of An Outbreak Simulator

In previous work, we described a non-disease-specific outbreak simulator for the evaluation of outbreak detection algorithms. This Template-Driven Simulator generates disease patterns using user-defined template functions. Estimation of a template function from real outbreak data would enable researchers to repetitively simulate outbreaks that resemble a single real outbreak. These simulated outbreaks can then be used to evaluate outbreak detection algorithms. To demonstrate template estimation, we employ BARD, a disease-specific outbreak model for outdoor aerosol release of B. anthracis.

July 30, 2018

Improving Detection Timeliness by Modeling and Correcting for Data Availability Delays

The performance of even the most advanced syndromic surveillance systems can be undermined if the monitored data is delayed before it arrives into the system.  In such cases, an outbreak may be detected only after it is too late for appropriate public health response.

July 30, 2018

Multi-Method Comparison of Detecting Common Events of Public Health Interest: a Multi-Site, Multi-Stream Simulation Study

Existing statistical methods can perform well in detecting simulated bioterrorism events. However, these methods have not been well-evaluated for detection of the type of respiratory and gastrointestinal events of greatest interest for routine public health practice. To assess whether a syndromic surveillance system can detect these outbreaks, we constructed simulated outbreaks based on public health interest and experience. We then inserted these outbreaks into real data.

July 30, 2018

Modeling Clinician Detection Time of a Disease Outbreak Due to Inhalational Anthrax

We developed a probabilistic model of how clinicians are expected to detect a disease outbreak due to an outdoor release of anthrax spores, when the clinicians only have access to traditional clinical information (e.g., no computer-based alerts). We used this model to estimate an upper bound on the amount of time expected for clinicians to detect such an outbreak. Such estimates may be useful in planning for outbreaks and in assessing the usefulness of various computer-based outbreak detection algorithms.

July 30, 2018

Modelling the Contribution of Infectious Pathogens to the Seasonality of Syndromic Data

Calls to NHS Direct (a national UK telephone health advice line) which may be indicative of infection show marked seasonal variation, often peaking during winter or early spring. This variation may be related to the seasonality of common viruses. There is currently no routine microbiological confirmation of the cause of illness in NHS Direct callers. Modelling trends in NHS Direct syndromic call data against laboratory data may help by attributing the likely cause of these calls the and surveillance ‘signals’ generated by syndromic surveillance.

March 26, 2019

Employment and Commuting Data for the Simulation of Pandemics

Evidence suggests that transmission within the workplace contributes significantly to the magnitude of a pandemic flu epidemic. A significant number of large organizations have a pandemic plan in place which may help in controlling this manner of transmission. These plans typically include telecommuting and other measures to reduce the need to physically commute to the workplace. Good data are needed in order to obtain valid results from simulation models and to be able to assess the effect of reductions in commuting.



July 30, 2018

Infectious Outbreaks and Time-Distributed Effects of Exposure

The objective of this communication is to demonstrate an approach for modeling time-distributed effects of exposures to cases of infection which can be utilized in syndromic surveillance systems for characterizing, detecting, and forecasting a potential outbreak.

July 30, 2018


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