Poison Control Center--based syndromic surveillance for foodborne illness.

Mary P. Derby, J. McNally, J. Ranger-Moore, L. Hulette, R. Villar, T. Hysong, E. MacNeill, M. Lebowitz, J. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: This retrospective study evaluated the usefulness of a poison control center (PCC) data collection system in Tucson, Arizona for early detection of foodborne disease outbreaks. METHODS: A search of a PCC database identified callers with gastrointestinal symptoms attributable to suspected foodborne illnesses whose calls were received during January 1-March 31, 2000. For each foodborne illness-related call, PCC coding was compared with a predefined diarrhea/gastroenteritis syndrome. PCC calls also were evaluated by using ZIP code, age, sex, and date of symptom onset to determine if call classifications matched any laboratory-confirmed cases reported to a county health department. RESULTS: An independent review generally agreed with the PCC's classification of calls. When calls and cases were compared, only one potential match was identified. CONCLUSION: Although confirmatory diagnostic information was not available, PCC calls were not duplicative of cases evaluated by the county health department, which suggests that they represent two independent data sets. PCC data might provide a useful addition to surveillance data reported to public health agencies for the early detection of foodborne disease outbreaks. These results will now be used to develop collaborative prospective surveillance systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalMMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
Volume54 Suppl
StatePublished - Aug 26 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Health Information Management


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