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The concept of syndromic surveillance is relatively straightforward, although the proof of concept and/or value is yet to be shown. There are multiple syndromic surveillance systems in use around the globe and even across the U.S. Syndromic surveillance contrasts with the "knowledgeable intermediary" the single clinician who, recognizing that a patient or group of patients arriving for care display an unusual set of signs or symptoms, activates public health authorities. This chapter gives a brief listing of several U.S. surveillance systems, past and present, using a variety of methodologies to achieve certain goals. To add value to any syndromic surveillance system, the addition of nonhuman data might also be useful. There are a variety of mathematical data analysis formulae in place in the extant syndromic surveillance systems. Syndromic surveillance is necessary because of difficulty establishing a diagnosis in a timely manner for human infectious diseases.
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