Using Syndromic Surveillance to Rapidly Describe the Early Epidemiology of Flakka Use in Florida, June 2014 – August 2015


Syndromic surveillance has historically been used to track infectious disease, but in recent years, many jurisdictions have utilized the systems to conduct all hazards surveillance and provide situational awareness with respect to previously identified issues. Flakka is a synthetic drug (class: cathinones) that recently has been featured in the media. Flakka is a stimulant that causes delusions, aggression, erratic behavior, a racing heart and sometimes death. Two specific counties (one in Florida and one in Kentucky) have been at the center of this emerging epidemic. In August 2015, Florida Department of Health (FDOH) partner agencies requested flakka-related health data in an effort to better understand the epidemiology and context of this problem. ESSENCE-FL is a large syndromic surveillance system, with four main data sources, that captures 87% of all emergency department (ED) visits statewide.


To characterize flakka usage in Florida using multiple data sources within the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE-FL)


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Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2015

September 25, 2017

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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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