233534 Evaluating Georgetown University's 2009 H1N1 Influenza Syndromic Surveillance System

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ying Zhang, PhD Candidate, B Med Sc , School of Nursing & Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Larissa May, MD , Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC
Michael A. Stoto, PhD , School of Nursing & Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

To provide timely information on the impact of the 2009 H1N1 influenza epidemic from 8/28/2009 to 4/10/2010, Georgetown University developed and implemented a syndromic surveillance system incorporating a variety of data sources.

Research Aims

Describe the 2009 H1N1 outbreak at an urban university in Fall 2009.

Identify the datasets those most accurately depict the 2009 H1N1 epidemic in near real-time.

Data and methods The Georgetown data include student influenza-like-illness (ILI) and absenteeism reported to medical and non-medical staff, and employee absenteeism data available in near real-time and retrospectively. As a point of comparison, we also analyzed the George Washington University (GWU) student ILI cases, American College Health Association's Pandemic Influenza Surveillance Network (ACHA) and CDC ILINet data, and performed a contextual analysis of H1N1-related university broadcast and on-campus media reports.


ILI cases reported to medical staff, especially Emergency Department visits, peaked first in early September and dropped sharply afterwards. This corresponds to GWU records and ACHA data, but not regional ILINet data.

Retrospective employee absenteeism patterns are similar to those of the previous year.

Student self reports exhibited a second peak in around mid-term weeks.


Syndromic surveillance systems can be affected by factors that influence people's reporting behavior including communication and intervention policies, incentives and barriers associated with presenting oneself to the reporting system. If these biases are understood and taken into account, these systems can provide useful situational awareness information to university policy makers and medical providers.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the validity and test the utility of the system by using the second wave A/H1N1 Influenza outbreak as a critical event.

Keywords: Infectious Diseases, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary person collecting and analyzing the data on regular basis.
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.