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A concept for routine emergency-care data-based syndromic surveillance in Europe

  • A. ZIEMANN (a1), N. ROSENKÖTTER (a1), L. GARCIA-CASTRILLO RIESGO (a2), S. SCHRELL (a1), B. KAUHL (a1), G. VERGEINER (a3), M. FISCHER (a4), F. K. LIPPERT (a5), A. KRÄMER (a6), H. BRAND (a1) and T. KRAFFT (a1)...

We developed a syndromic surveillance (SyS) concept using emergency dispatch, ambulance and emergency-department data from different European countries. Based on an inventory of sub-national emergency data availability in 12 countries, we propose framework definitions for specific syndromes and a SyS system design. We tested the concept by retrospectively applying cumulative sum and spatio-temporal cluster analyses for the detection of local gastrointestinal outbreaks in four countries and comparing the results with notifiable disease reporting. Routine emergency data was available daily and electronically in 11 regions, following a common structure. We identified two gastrointestinal outbreaks in two countries; one was confirmed as a norovirus outbreak. We detected 1/147 notified outbreaks. Emergency-care data-based SyS can supplement local surveillance with near real-time information on gastrointestinal patients, especially in special circumstances, e.g. foreign tourists. It most likely cannot detect the majority of local gastrointestinal outbreaks with few, mild or dispersed cases.

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Corresponding author
* Author for correspondence: Ms. A. Ziemann, Department of International Health, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, School of Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
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