The Early Aberration Reporting System (EARS) was first developed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US CDC. Current EARS system development and research activities are supported by the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program (Hutwagner et al., 2003). EARS provides national, state, and local health departments with several alternative aberration detection methods to analyze and visualize public health surveillance data for syndromic surveillance (Figure 12-1). As of mid 2006, approximately 90 city, county, and state public health offices, in addition to some international offices, use EARS to assist in the early identification of outbreaks of disease and bioterrorism events (CDC, 2006a; Hutwagner et al., 2003). The National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program currently provides technical support and research and development for EARS activities (Hutwagner et al., 2003).
EARS has already identified some outbreaks. In one instance, a state health official thought they had a Shigella outbreak. After running EARS on their notifiable diseases, the outbreak was confirmed and they were able to easily identify the county involved. EARS has also linked an increase in asthma cases to an increase in the ozone level that was not large enough to trigger an ozone alarm. Another site using EARS identified the beginning of the West Nile Virus season and implemented spraying for mosquitoes.
KeywordsSyndromic Surveillance Local Health Department Syndromic Surveillance System Syndromic Surveillance Data State Health Official
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