211259 HABISS: CDC's Harmful Algal Bloom Illness-related Surveillance System

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:48 PM

Lorraine C. Backer, PhD, MPH , National Center for Environmental Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, GA
Rebecca LePrell, MPH , Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, VA
Brian Robinson , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Chamblee, GA
The extent of human illness caused by environmental exposure to algal toxins in drinking and recreational waters is unknown. There are some national and World Health Organization guidelines that public health agencies can follow to make decisions about allowing access to drinking water sources and recreational areas with ongoing HABs. However, there are no U.S. federal regulations, and no official guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In response to the need to support public health decision-making, the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Harmful Algal Bloom-related Illness Surveillance System (HABISS). HABISS is a unique surveillance system that includes the collection of human health data, animal health data, and environmental data about the HABs themselves. Data collection is organized in modular format that can easily be adapted to state and local needs. State health agencies are particularly interested in using this database to predict future blooms, thus allowing state public health prevention activities to be in place not only in response to reports of human or animal illnesses, but also in advance of anticipated public health problems. Thirteen states began contributing data to HABISS this year, and we are conducting active case-finding in collaboration with regional Poison Information Systems. There are reports of 350 HABs, 50 human cases, and 20 animal cases in HABISS. Future plans including expanding internationally, enhancing reporting and modeling capabilities, and adding access to CDC's Event Anomaly Reporting System.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to conduct disease surveillance on HAB-related illnesses.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the PI developing the HABISS
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.