Developing, Evaluating, and Disseminating Definitions for Syndromic Surveillance in Public Health Practice: A Guidance Document


This document, released February 18, 2019, focuses on several key areas related to syndrome definition creation, including the basics behind a syndrome definition, steps to build a syndrome, evaluation of a new (or old) definition, and dissemination.

Starting in November of 2016, the ISDS Syndrome Definition Committee began a group approach to developing a syndrome definition that could be documented and used as an example in best practices. The topic selected by the committee was a suicide-related syndrome and is referenced throughout this guidance document. The methods described in this document should transfer to most syndromic surveillance platforms, but this guidance document was based on the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) BioSense Platform, ESSENCE (Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics).

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February, 2019

February 19, 2019

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National Syndromic
Surveillance Program

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is a collaboration among states and public health jurisdictions that contribute data to the BioSense Platform, public health practitioners who use local syndromic surveillance systems, Center for Disease Control and Prevention programs, other federal agencies, partner organizations, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and academic institutions.

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