Augmenting Surveillance to Minimize the Burden of Norovirus-Like Illness in Ontario: Using TeleHealth Ontario Data to Detect the Onset of Community Activity
Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide, resulting in millions of infections annually. In comparison to other viral illnesses, the total number of norovirus cases per year is second only to the common cold. While infection is relatively short-lived, the illness causes a high economic impact due to lost productivity and healthcare expenditures, thus requiring action to reduce the burden. In Ontario, surveillance is predominantly laboratory-based, leaving much room for improvement. This project will utilize syndromic surveillance to create an early warning system for early norovirus detection; TeleHealth Ontario call data will be analyzed to identify the beginning of the winter vomiting season in conjunction with laboratory data to confirm the season. From this, public health authorities can notify hospitals, long-term care homes, and other vulnerable populations of impending outbreaks.