28 May 2009

Webinar Presentations Now Available

Thanks to all who attended the Research and Public Health Practice Committees' webinar, "Technical Challenges from the Public Health Practice Community" this Thursday. There were approximately 100 people in attendance! The success of this webinar is highly encouraging; as a result, ISDS hopes to be able to host similar events in the near future.

Our panelists have graciously agreed to allow the posting of their slides on the ISDS wiki. In addition to viewing the presentation slides, you can also listen to the recording, read the abstracts and view the participant list. All are available here.

May Literature Summaries Now Available

The summaries from the May 27th Literature Review are now available on the ISDS wiki.

During the next Literature Review, Anette Hulth and her colleagues of the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control will present their paper entitled "Web Queries as a Source for Syndromic Surveillance." The presentation will take place on Thursday, June 18th at 10:00 am EDT.

Register here for the June Literature Review webinar.

19 May 2009

2009 Conference Planning Updates

The 2009 Conference Committee has finalized the selection of the Scientific Program Committee, along with this year's conference themes.

Conference Title: Biosurveillance Across Disciplines: Advancing Health Threat Awareness and Public Health Protection

-Post-marketing pharmacovigiliance and medical product safety
-Plant and animal surveillance for food chain safety
-Syndromic surveillance case studies and innovations
-Global climate change: surveillance, evidence and implications for public health
-Electronic medical records and public health surveillance
-Transdisciplinary biosurveillance: information fusion across domains

Conference Committee Members:

-Organizing Chair: Fermin Leguen, MD, Miami Dade County Health Department
-Scientific Program Chair: Henry Rolka, RN, MPS, MPH Centers for Disease Control
-Board Liaison: Joe Lombardo, PhD, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
-Workshop Chair: Michael Coletta, MPH, Virginia Department of Health

Scientific Program Committee Members:
-Hesha Jani Duggirala, PhD, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
-Alexis Jeannotte, Department of Homeland Security
-Lynda Kelley, DVM, PhD, Food Safety Inspection Service
-Michael Klompas, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
-George Luber, PhD, Centers for Disease Control
-Teresa Quitugua, PhD, Department of Homeland Security
-Guoyan Zhang, MD, Miami Dade County Health Department
-Atar Baer, Public Health - Seattle & King County
-Daniel Neill, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
-Wendy Chapman, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
-Erin O'Connell, MPH, Miami Dade County Health Department

More information available here

15 May 2009

Education and Training Committee Meeting

When: Monday, May 11th at 1:00 pm EDT

1. Graduate syndromic course
2. Pre-conference workshop planning

1. Committee member Debjani Das is currently working on putting together a series of lectures for a graduate-level syndromic surveillance course. She has written several lectures so far that are now are ready for edit and review. Once the lectures are complete, the goal is to post them as a free resource on syndromic.org and/or the Education and Training wiki page. The committee is looking for reviewers with a wide range of experience. To learn more about getting involved in the review process, please email das_rima@hotmail.com.

2. The Committee is exploring the possibility of offering an abbreviated version of its Syndromic Surveillance 101 course at this year's pre-conference workshop, which will be taking place on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009. It is hoped that the course can be offered as a free morning session before the workshop begins, and that it will be a chance for local public health practitioners to get involved in the conference.

3. As this year's Pre-Conference Workshop Chair, Michael Coletta has drafted an outline for the format of the workshop. The first half of the workshop will consist of a set of interactive presentations, followed by a swap-meet in the afternoon.

Next Meeting:
The next Education and Training Committee meeting will be held on Monday, June 1st at 1:00 pm EDT.

Articles for May Literature Review

This month, the Research Committee will be hosting its Literature Review on Wednesday, May 27th at 10:00 am EDT.

The articles for our literature discussion are listed below, and have also been posted to the ISDSResearch Gmail account.

As always, this call is optional for contributors but is an opportunity to help, express concerns, and make suggestions.

Please note any articles of high quality and broad appeal for inviting the authors for online presentation or for consideration for ISDS recognition in its annual awards.

To clarify the process for our growing list of participants, the submissions should be brief structured summaries rather than formal reviews. Submit a summary only if you feel that the article is worthy of posting.

For a copy of the summary template or to access the ISDSResearch gmail account, please email rviola@syndromic.org. Please email your input on any selected articles by Tuesday, May 26th.


van-Dijk A, Aramini J, Edge G, Moore KM.
Real-time surveillance for respiratory disease outbreaks, Ontario, Canada.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 May;15(5):799-801.

Hafen RP, Anderson DE, Cleveland WS, Maciejewski R, Ebert DS, Abusalah A, Yakout M, Ouzzani M, Grannis SJ.
Syndromic surveillance: STL for modeling, visualizing, and monitoring disease counts.
BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2009 Apr 21;9(1):21. [Epub ahead of print]

Yih WK, Teates KS, Abrams A, Kleinman K, Kulldorff M, Pinner R, Harmon R, Wang S, Platt R.
Telephone triage service data for detection of influenza-like illness.
PLoS ONE. 2009;4(4):e5260.

Li Y, Yu JF, Yin L, Cui GZ.
[Concepts of ontology-based neuroinformatics and their relations.]
Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao. 2009 Apr 18;41(2):230-4. Chinese.

Reina J, Nicolau A, Galmes A, Arbona B.
[Diagnostic yield of paediatric respiratory samples in the Balearic Islands Sentinel Influenza Surveillance Network.] An Pediatr (Barc). 2009 Apr 16;. Spanish.

Muscatello DJ, Morton PM, Evans I, Gilmour R.
Prospective surveillance of excess mortality due to influenza in New South Wales: feasibility and statistical approach.
Commun Dis Intell. 2008 Dec;32(4):435-42.

Neill DB.
An empirical comparison of spatial scan statistics for outbreak detection.
Int J Health Geogr. 2009 Apr 16;8(1):20. [Epub ahead of print]

Pattie DC, Atherton MJ, Cox KL.
Electronic Influenza Monitoring: Evaluation of Body Temperature to Classify Influenza-like Illness in a Syndromic Surveillance System. Qual Manag Health Care. 2009 Apr-Jun;18(2):91-102.

Ndifon W, Dushoff J, Levin SA.
On the use of hemagglutination-inhibition for influenza surveillance: Surveillance data are predictive of influenza vaccine effectiveness. Vaccine. 2009 Apr 21;27(18):2447-52.

Fisman DN, Greer AL, Brouhanski G, Drews SJ.
Of gastro and the gold standard: evaluation and policy implications of norovirus test performance for outbreak detection. J Transl Med. 2009 Mar 26;7:23.

de Mello WA, de Paiva TM, Ishida MA, Benega MA, Dos Santos MC, Viboud C, Miller MA, Alonso WJ.
The dilemma of influenza vaccine recommendations when applied to the tropics: the Brazilian case examined under alternative scenarios.
PLoS ONE. 2009;4(4):e5095.

Ansaldi F, Orsi A, Altomonte F, Bertone G, Parodi V, Carloni R, Moscatelli P, Pasero E, Oreste P, Icardi G.
Emergency department syndromic surveillance system for early detection of 5 syndromes: a pilot project in a reference teaching hospital in Genoa, Italy.
J Prev Med Hyg. 2008 Dec;49(4):131-5.

01 May 2009

"The Network" Newsletter, Part 4: HealthMap Update

by John Brownstein, PhD, ISDS Board of Directors

This article is a part of a series that will be published in the Global Outreach newsletter, "The Network." A pdf version of "The Network" is coming soon!

Developed by the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) at the Harvard Medical School, the HealthMap prototype (HealthMap.org) is an openly available public health intelligence system that brings together disparate data sources to produce a unified and comprehensive view of the current global state of infectious diseases and their effect on human and animal health. HealthMap is a multi-stream and multilingual real-time surveillance platform that continually aggregates reports on new and ongoing infectious disease outbreaks. The system monitors, organizes, integrates, filters, visualizes and disseminates online information about emerging diseases, facilitating knowledge management and early detection. It serves to bring structure to an information flow that would otherwise be overwhelming to the user or obscure important and urgent elements. HealthMap relies on a variety of electronic media sources including online news sources through aggregators such as Google News, expert-curated discussion such as ProMED-mail, and validated official reports from organizations such as the WHO. Currently, the system collects reports from 18 sources, which in turn represent information from over 20,000 Web sites, every hour, 24 hours a day. Internet search criteria include disease names (scientific and common), symptoms, keywords and phrases. The system collects an average of 300 reports per da. HealthMap has processed over 200,000 alerts across 171 disease categories and 202 countries or semi-autonomous/overseas territories since it was launched in October of 2006.

HealthMap is designed to provide a starting point for real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse range of end users, from public health officials to international travelers. The system currently serves as a direct information source for approximately 10,000 unique visitors per day, as well as a resource for libraries, local health departments, governments (e.g., the US Department Health and Human Services and Department of Defense), multinational agencies (e.g., the United Nations) and nonprofit organizations (Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS), which use the HealthMap data stream for day-to-day surveillance activities. Many regular users come from the WHO, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Through a direct RSS feed, a number of organizations, ranging from local health departments to national organizations such as US Health and Human Services (e.g.: used during the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions), the US Department of Defense, USGS, and the Wildlife Conservation Society all leverage the HealthMap data stream for day-to-day surveillance activities. HealthMap has also been featured in a number of mainstream media and scientific publications, including Wired News, Lancet, Nature, and Science, indicating the broad utility of such a system, extending beyond public health practice. Preliminary descriptions of HealthMap have now been published as peer-reviewed articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, EuroSurveillance and PLoS Medicine.

Swine Flu News on HealthMap