Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A New Method For Early Detection Of Disease Outbreaks

Date:
February 23, 2005
Source:
Public Library Of Science
Summary:
For disease outbreak detection, the public health community has historically relied on the watchful eyes of doctors, who have reported individual cases or clusters of cases of particular diseases to the authorities. But these days, the availability of electronic health-care data should facilitate more automated and earlier outbreak detection and intervention.

Locations of detected diarrhea outbreak signals in New York City. Illustration: Jessica Hartman.

For disease outbreak detection, the public health community has historically relied on the watchful eyes of doctors, who have reported individual cases or clusters of cases of particular diseases to the authorities. But these days, the availability of electronic health-care data should facilitate more automated and earlier outbreak detection and intervention. Besides diagnoses of known diseases, other indicators--such as primary complaints of patients coming to the emergency room or calling a nurse hotline--are being collected in electronic formats and could be analyzed if suitable methods existed.

Martin Kulldorff and colleagues have developed and operated real-time disease surveillance systems based on electronic records. In an article published in the open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine, they now report a new and very flexible approach for early disease outbreak detection.

The method, called the "space time permutation scan statistic," is an extension of a previous method of detecting outbreaks called scan statistic. The problem with this previous method is that it works only under certain circumstances, for example if there is a uniform population at risk (with the same number of expected disease cases in every square kilometer), or if quite a bit is known about the variation in factors such as age and disease susceptibility that occurs in that population. The new method doesn't need any of that: it can detect disease outbreaks when only the number of cases is available.

In their article, Kulldorff and colleagues illustrate the utility of the new method by applying it to data collected from hospital emergency departments in New York City. The researchers analyzed diarrhea records from 2002, and did both a "residential analysis" (based on the home address of the patients) and a "hospital analysis" (based on hospital locations). The former has more detailed geographical information, the latter maybe be better able to detect outbreaks not primarily related to place of residence but, for example, school or workplace. With their new "space time permutation scan statistic," they found four highly unusual clusters of diarrhea cases, three of which heralded citywide gastrointestinal outbreaks due to rotavirus and norovirus. This suggests that their method can detect outbreaks early, and--equally important--it isn't prone to false alarms.

Since November 2003, the method has been integrated by the New York City Emergency Department in its syndromic surveillance system (this system for monitoring outbreaks was established in 1995 to detect outbreaks of waterborne, diarrheal illnesses). To make the method more widely accessible, it has been implemented as a feature of the freely available SaTScan software (http://www.satscan.org).

###

Additional online information:

# Details on SaTScan and software for downloading: http://www.satscan.org/

# National Syndromic Surveillance Conference: http://www.syndromic.org/index.html

# National Bioterrorism Syndromic Surveillance Demonstration Program: http://btsurveillance.org/

# The Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance Open Source Project: http://openrods.sourceforge.net/

Citation: Kulldorff M, Heffernan R, Hartman J, Assunciao R, Mostashari F (2005) A space-time permutation scan statistic for disease outbreak detection. PLoS Med 2(3): e59.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library Of Science. "A New Method For Early Detection Of Disease Outbreaks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130731.htm>.
Public Library Of Science. (2005, February 23). A New Method For Early Detection Of Disease Outbreaks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130731.htm
Public Library Of Science. "A New Method For Early Detection Of Disease Outbreaks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130731.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins