Lombardo JS, Burkom H, Pavlin J
ESSENCE II and the Framework for Evaluating Syndromic Surveillance Systems
Morbidity and mortality weekly report (MMWR)
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.