At present, biosurveillance systems that monitor call-center data classify each patient into a syndrome category prior to analyzing the data for clusters of illness that might indicate the presence of an outbreak. The United Kingdom's NHS (National Health Service) Direct syndromic surveillance system (also discussed in Chapter 6) uses 10 syndromes: cold/influenza, cough, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, double vision, eye problems, lumps, fever, rash, and vomiting

table 28.2 Data Discussed or Mentioned in this Chapter

Type of data

Value of Information


Call center data

Probably high

Test orders


Prescription drugs

Probably high


Weekly polling by email

One study

Volumetric telephone usage

One study

Bus ridership


Sales of food items in


cafeterias or restaurants

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