Syndromic Surveillance for Outbreak Detection and Investigation

Tom Andersson, Pär Bjelkmar, Anette Hulth, Johan Lindh, Stephan Stenmark, Mikael Widerström


For the purpose of developing a national system of outbreak surveillance, we compared local outbreak signals in three sources of syndromic data: telephone triage of acute gastroenteritis, web queries about symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, and OTC pharmacy sales of anti-diarrhea medication. The sensitivity and specificity were highest for telephone triage data. It provided the most promising source of syndromic data for surveillance of point-source outbreaks. Currently, a project has been initialized to develop and implement a national system in Sweden for daily syndromic surveillance based on 1177 Health Care Direct, supporting regional and local outbreak detection and investigation.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *