ESSENCE II and the framework for evaluating syndromic surveillance systems.

Joseph S. Lombardo, H. Burkom, J. Pavlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE II) is a prototype syndromic surveillance system for capturing and analyzing public health indicators for early detection of disease outbreaks. OBJECTIVES: This paper presents a preliminary evaluation of ESSENCE II according to a CDC framework for evaluating syndromic surveillance systems. METHODS: Each major topic of the framework is addressed in this assessment of ESSENCE II performance. RESULTS: ESSENCE captures data in multiple formats, parses text strings into syndrome groupings, and applies multiple temporal and spatio-temporal outbreak-detection algorithms. During a recent DARPA evaluation exercise, ESSENCE algorithms detected a set of health events with a median delay of 1 day after the earliest possible detection opportunity. CONCLUSIONS: ESSENCE II has provided excellent performance with respect to the framework and has proven to be a useful and cost-effective approach for providing early detection of health events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
JournalMMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report
Volume53 Suppl
StatePublished - Sep 24 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Health Information Management


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