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Integrating syndromic surveillance data across multiple locations: effects on outbreak detection performance.

Author information

1
Children's Hospital Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

Syndromic surveillance systems are being deployed widely to monitor for signals of covert bioterrorist attacks. Regional systems are being established through the integration of local surveillance data across multiple facilities. We studied how different methods of data integration affect outbreak detection performance. We used a simulation relying on a semi-synthetic dataset, introducing simulated outbreaks of different sizes into historical visit data from two hospitals. In one simulation, we introduced the synthetic outbreak evenly into both hospital datasets (aggregate model). In the second, the outbreak was introduced into only one or the other of the hospital datasets (local model). We found that the aggregate model had a higher sensitivity for detecting outbreaks that were evenly distributed between the hospitals. However, for outbreaks that were localized to one facility, maintaining individual models for each location proved to be better. Given the complementary benefits offered by both approaches, the results suggest building a hybrid system that includes both individual models for each location, and an aggregate model that combines all the data. We also discuss options for multi-level signal integration hierarchies.

PMID:
14728233
PMCID:
PMC1479922
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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