6 Mar 2013

Evaluation of Epidemic Intelligence Systems Integrated in the Early Alerting and Reporting Project for the Detection of A/H5N1 Influenza Events (PLoS ONE, abstract, edited)

[Source: PLoS ONE, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Research Article

Evaluation of Epidemic Intelligence Systems Integrated in the Early Alerting and Reporting Project for the Detection of A/H5N1 Influenza Events

Philippe Barboza, Laetitia Vaillant, Abla Mawudeku, Noele P. Nelson, David M. Hartley, Lawrence C. Madoff, Jens P. Linge, Nigel Collier, John S. Brownstein, Pascal Astagneau, on behalf of the Early Alerting, Reporting Project of the Global Health Security Initiative

 

Abstract

The objective of Web-based expert epidemic intelligence systems is to detect health threats. The Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) Early Alerting and Reporting (EAR) project was launched to assess the feasibility and opportunity for pooling epidemic intelligence data from seven expert systems. EAR participants completed a qualitative survey to document epidemic intelligence strategies and to assess perceptions regarding the systems performance. Timeliness and sensitivity were rated highly illustrating the value of the systems for epidemic intelligence. Weaknesses identified included representativeness, completeness and flexibility. These findings were corroborated by the quantitative analysis performed on signals potentially related to influenza A/H5N1 events occurring in March 2010. For the six systems for which this information was available, the detection rate ranged from 31% to 38%, and increased to 72% when considering the virtual combined system. The effective positive predictive values ranged from 3% to 24% and F1-scores ranged from 6% to 27%. System sensitivity ranged from 38% to 72%. An average difference of 23% was observed between the sensitivities calculated for human cases and epizootics, underlining the difficulties in developing an efficient algorithm for a single pathology. However, the sensitivity increased to 93% when the virtual combined system was considered, clearly illustrating complementarities between individual systems. The average delay between the detection of A/H5N1 events by the systems and their official reporting by WHO or OIE was 10.2 days (95% CI: 6.7–13.8). This work illustrates the diversity in implemented epidemic intelligence activities, differences in system's designs, and the potential added values and opportunities for synergy between systems, between users and between systems and users.

 

Citation: Barboza P, Vaillant L, Mawudeku A, Nelson NP, Hartley DM, et al. (2013) Evaluation of Epidemic Intelligence Systems Integrated in the Early Alerting and Reporting Project for the Detection of A/H5N1 Influenza Events. PLoS ONE 8(3): e57252. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057252

Editor: Hiroshi Nishiura, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received: July 27, 2012; Accepted: January 18, 2013; Published: March 5, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Barboza et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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