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Syndromic Surveillance


Description

 

In recent years, global pandemics such as SARS or the current Corona Virus have shown the need to quickly identify outbreaks of communicable diseases and prepare the authorities and the local population accordingly.

The UAE, as a hub connecting Asia with the Western world, and its large expatriate population, faces unique challenges from communicable diseases. The Health Authorities – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) have implemented a sophisticated e notificaton system that provides information about cases of influenza like illnesses to them the moment they are diagnosed by a doctor in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

However, as the time from infection to (lab-certified) results can span several weeks, any effective early warning system should take into consideration other data as well. The Syndromic Surveillance System (SSS) analyses non-medical data in order to identify potential outbreaks very early on, by using non-traditional sources such as Twitter, as well as other available data. The goal is to provide an early warning system for communicable diseases, and in particular influenza like illnesses using syndromic surveillance technologies is developed.

This system collects and analyses non-medical data – such as tweets about flu and fever, or over-the-counter drug sales – and extracts indicators for communicable diseases. This information can then be used by the health authorities to quickly react and deploy targeted responses to potentially serious outbreaks.
In collaboration with Health Authorities – Abu Dhabi, and hopefully more regulators, universities and industry players down the line, EBTIC is designing and implementing an early warning system that allows Abu Dhabi to identify outbreaks of communicable diseases quickly and reliably, and provides the authorities with actionable data such as location, potential contacts, and more.

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