Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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A new syndromic surveillance system has been developed in Bordeaux City, South West France, using a general practitioners' house calls network. Routinely collected, sociodemographic data, patients' complaints and medical diagnoses made at the end of the visit were monitored using syndrome groups such as influenza syndromes, bronchiolitis, gastrointestinal, respiratory syndromes and others, based on International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC)-2 codes. A process control chart was implemented in order to distinguish signals of interest from 'background noise'. In 2005 and 2006, a total of 303,936 visits were recorded. Seasonal epidemics of influenza-like illness, bronchiolitis or gastrointestinal were identified. The automated and real time nature of the system also allowed the early detection of unusual events such as an acute increase in the number of heat syndromes during the heat-wave that occurred in France in July 2006. This new system complements existing surveillance programs by assessing a large part of episodes of illness that do not require hospital admissions or the identification of an etiologic agent. Attributes and advantages of the system, such as timeliness and diagnostic specificity, demonstrated its utility and validity in term of syndromic surveillance purposes, and its extension at the national level is in process. .


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