Syndromic Surveillance

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Office of Public Health (OPH) require Emergency Departments to participate in syndromic surveillance. This activity is usually coordinated through a facilities infection control office.

Each state OPH along with the CDC, have certain disease processes and complaints that are required to be reported. These not only include diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, legionella, syphilis and gonorrhea, but also complaints like fever, diarrhea, and nausea and vomiting.

With the growing emphasis on potential pandemics such as avian influenza, this reporting has received greater attention. Many states have begun to look at new technologies that can link a physician’s diagnosis or a patient’s complaint on electronic records to an automatic reporting system. Two such companies that market this technology are CERNA and EmergisoftED.

This early reporting, along with the use of traditional infection control practices (i.e. hand washing, use of PPEs, universal precautions, etc), is hoped to stop the spread of new influenza outbreaks before a pandemic can occur.

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