|Office of Epidemiology||February 2002||Utah Department of Health|
SurveillanceDisease surveillance and response is an ongoing function of the
Office of Epidemiology and Utahs local health departments. The influx of peoples
from around the world and the heightened concern about bioterrorism during the recent
Olympic Games required and enhanced disease surveillance and response plan be in place.
Such a plan was developed by the local health departments (LHD) with Olympic related
activities and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to monitor disease activity, to detect
emerging diseases, outbreaks or unusual patterns of disease, and to effectively respond to
outbreaks, natural or intentional. [Note: The six LHDs with Olympic related
activities include Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber-Morgan]
The major components of the Plan included:
Enhanced (active) Surveillance for Notifiable Diseases
Surveillance of Encounters at Olympic Designated Medical Clinics
Other Sentinel Surveillance Systems
Sentinel Intelligent Observers
Data was received by UDOH in one of two ways; entered by LHD staff either at the facility or at the LHD and transmitted to the UDOH as an email attachment, or transmitted in a tab-delimited form to UDOH by staff at the facility. Analysis was conducted at the LHD, based upon their resources to do so, and at the UDOH.
Enhanced (active) Surveillance for Notifiable Diseases was an enhancement of currently conducted surveillance for notifiable diseases where designated laboratories and clinical sites were contacted by LHD or UDOH staff three times per week to request information about persons with selected diseases of concern during the Olympics (Table 2).
Surveillance of Encounters at Olympic Designated Medical Clinics collected information from clinics located at the Olympic Village, each athletic venue, and at the International Olympic Committee hotel. These facilities primarily served members of the Olympic Family (athletes, officials). Encounter forms for each visit included the conditions tracked at the selected urgent care facilities and EDs in addition to conditions associated with injury and trauma. Data from these forms were sent to UDOH daily and evaluated along with the other syndromic surveillance data.
Other Sentinel Surveillance Systems included the annual Influenza surveillance, worksite absenteeism surveillance, BASIS (a system for detecting an airborne biologic agent), Poison Control Center, and the University of Utah Clinical Data warehouse. These systems/agencies were alerted to contact UDOH if anything unusual was identified.
Sentinel Intelligent Observers that were identified included: Office of the Medical Examiner, Poison Control Center, Emergency Department and Urgent Care Facility staff (not otherwise included in surveillance activities), hospital infectious disease and infection control staff, Pharmacists, Veterinarians, and hospital intensive care unit physicians and nurses. Information received from these sites was considered as part of the enhanced notifiable disease surveillance.
Data collected and evaluated to date suggest no unusual public health problems occurred during the Olympics. Influenza activity was detected both through regular and enhanced notifiable disease surveillance and syndromic surveillance (as respiratory illness with fever). A final analysis of all the data will be completed over the next several months. Look for a summary this summer!The Epicenter In addition to the Olympic surveillance that was put in place to protect the publics health, the Epicenter, served as a communications hub for the agencies involved with the Environmental and Public Health Alliance (EPHA). These agencies include the six counties with Olympic-related activities; three state agencies (the Utah Departments of Environmental Quality, Agriculture and Food, and Health); and five federal partners (the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services). The primary goal of the Epicenter was to ensure that communication between agencies would be uninterrupted in the event of an emergency. Twelve phone lines (six incoming and six outgoing), two facsimile machines, an 800 MHz radio, a ham radio, and a satellite telephone line ensured that communication was possible through a variety of mechanisms. The Epicenter was also used to facilitate routine communications between agencies during the Games. Other operations included preparing a daily report that summarized activities of all the EPHA organizations, and providing a central location where people could gather to discuss ongoing problems. After the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games are over, the equipment in the Epicenter will be securely stored away, and the room will be available again as a conference room. However, in the event of a future emergency, the equipment can be taken out of storage and the Epicenter can be in full operational mode in 30 minutes or less. This enhanced ability to rapidly respond to an emergency will serve as the Epicenters legacy. Return
Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology
The Epidemiology Newsletter is published monthly by the Utah Department of Health, Division of Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Office of Epidemiology, to disseminate epidemiologic information to the health care professional and the general public.
Send comments to:
Approval 8000008: Appropriation 3705