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Use of Near-Real–Time Data to Inform Underage Drinking Surveillance in Nebraska


Underage drinking is a significant public health problem in the United States as well as in Nebraska1-2. Alcohol consumption among underage youth accounts for approximately 5,000 deaths each year in the United States, including motor vehicle crash related deaths, homicides and suicides1. In Nebraska, 23% of 12-20 year olds have reported alcohol use during the past 30 days3. In 2010, the estimated total costs of underage drinking in Nebraska were $423 million. These costs included medical care, work loss along with pain and suffering2. The health consequences of underage drinking include alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injuries, physical and sexual assault, suicide, self-inflicted injury, death from alcohol poisoning, and abuse of other drugs1, 4. The monitoring of near-real–time ED data could help underage drinking prevention efforts by providing timelier actionable public health information.


The objective of this pilot study was to develop and evaluate syndromic definitions for the monitoring of alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visits in near-real–time syndromic surveillance (SyS) data. This study also evaluates the utility of SyS ED data for the monitoring of underage drinking.

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