Syndromic Surveillance Climate and Health Guidance Document


In general, data from public health surveillance can be used for short- and long-term planning and response through retrospective data analysis of trends over time or specific events. Combining health outcome data (e.g., hospitalizations or deaths) with environmental and socio-demographic information also provides a more complete picture of most vulnerable populations. Using syndromic surveillance systems for climate and health surveillance offers the unique opportunity to help quantify and track in near-real time the burden of disease from climate and weather impacts. Once the disease burden for a climate-related health outcome is described, other climate and health public health initiatives can begin. Syndromic surveillance system administrators and epidemiologists may work together to develop syndromes for climate and health conditions, such as impacts from heat, cold, fire, or extreme weather events. This guidance document will provide instruction in five areas: (1) identifying a weather- or climate-related surveillance outcome, (2) developing a syndrome case definition, (3) combining, externally and internally, syndromic surveillance data with environmental data, (4) interpretation and display of data, and (5) engaging with partners. The final section of the document will discuss the strengths and limitations of adding data from a syndromic surveillance system to climate and health surveillance.


The goal of this document is to encourage surveillance improvements by providing a general instruction on how a jurisdiction may use their syndromic surveillance systems for climate and health surveillance.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
September, 2017

September 19, 2017

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This Knowledge Repository is made possible through the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement/Grant #1 NU500E000098-01, National Surveillance Program Community of Practice (NSSP-CoP): Strengthening Health Surveillance Capabilities Nationwide, which is in the interest of public health.

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