Many public health agencies monitor population health using syndromic surveillance, generally employing information from emergency department (ED) visit records. When combined with other information, objective evidence of fever may enhance the accuracy with which surveillance systems detect syndromes of interest, such as influenza-like illness. This study found that patient chief complaint of self-reported fever was more readily available in ED records than measured temperature and that the majority of patients with an elevated temperature recorded also self-reported fever. Due to its currently limited availability, we conclude that measured temperature is likely to add little value to self-reported fever in syndromic surveillance for febrile illness using ED records.
Keywords: Syndromic surveillance, measured temperature, BioSense, public health informatics, emergency department, surveillance, public health, disease, outbreaks, algorithm, simulation of complex systems (at all levels: molecules to work groups to organizations), monitoring the health of populations, detecting disease outbreaks and biological threats, change point analysis, user-centered design