Although the concept of syndromic surveillance was developed to generate early warnings about the possible development of a disease process, its most important application might be the indication of a potential problem and the suggestion of further investigations into the possibility of a developing health hazard. An example where syndromic surveillance has had a positive impact is described by J Ginsberg et al.in Nature where Google was used as a search engine for detecting an influenza epidemic. Essentially, the authorsâ monitored health-seeking behavior from online web search inquires. Before using this data to detect early influenza activity, the authors measured the correlation between physician visits and Google searches to track influenza questions. Once the correlation was found to be quite large, the number of queries was used as a surrogate for influenza like symptoms that successfully indicated the forming of an influenza epidemic.
(Syndromic Surveillance: Early Warning Systems for Monitoring Emerging Outbreaks of Health Events from Either Natural Causes or from Bioterrorists -Edward L. Melnick)
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Last date updated on June, 2014