Epidemiology and Infection

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
Epidemiology and Infection (2010), 138:1-8 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Review Article

Using syndromic surveillance systems to detect pneumonic plague

S. M. BABINa1 c1

a1 The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, USA
Article author query
babin sm [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Because syndromic surveillance systems use pre-diagnostic data for early detection of disease outbreaks, it is important to know how the earliest signs and symptoms of a disease might appear in these systems. The available medical literature describing the sequence of signs and symptoms of pneumonic plague reveals that, during the earliest stages, patients will most likely present with certain gastrointestinal and minimal, if any, respiratory signs. Without this knowledge, early evidence of pneumonic plague in syndromic surveillance systems may be missed until the respiratory signs become prevalent. Because plague is a zoonotic disease, new syndromic surveillance systems that use animal data from park rangers and veterinarians may provide useful evidence. This paper shows how a review of both human and animal literature can be used to design queries for syndromic surveillance systems.

(Accepted July 30 2009)

(Online publication August 24 2009)

Key Words:Bioterrorism; emerging infections; pneumonic plague; syndromic surveillance


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr S. M. Babin, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723 USA. (Email: steven.babin@jhuapl.edu)