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What did Syndromic Surveillance Show During London 2012? Lessons for Mass Gatherings


We assessed the impact of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on syndromic surveillance systems including the incidence of syndromic indictors and total contacts with health care.


Mass gatherings can impact on the health of the public including importation of infectious diseases, exposure of international visitors to endemic diseases in the host country and the increased risk of bioterrorist activity. Public health surveillance during mass gatherings therefore affords an opportunity to identify, and quantify any impact (or reassure on the absence of impact) on public health in a timely manner. In preparation for the Games, Public Health England undertook a programme of work to expand the existing suite of syndromic surveillance systems to include daily general practitioner out of hours (GPOOH) consultations and emergency department (ED) attendances at sentinel sites. These new systems complemented existing syndromic surveillance systems offering the opportunity to monitor trends in patient contacts with GPs outside of normal day time opening hours, as well as potentially the more severe end of the disease spectrum which would present at EDs. We assessed the impact of the 2012 Olympics on national surveillance systems, comparing to periods before and after the Games and in previous years and also the impact of specific events during the Games.

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