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Effectiveness of Using Cellular Phones to Transmit Real-Time Shelter Morbidity Surveillance Data After Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey, October to November, 2012

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2015

Alice M. Shumate*
Affiliation:
Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey
Ellen E. Yard
Affiliation:
The National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
Mary Casey-Lockyer
Affiliation:
Disaster Health Services, American Red Cross, Washington, DC
Andria Apostolou
Affiliation:
New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey SciMetrika, LLC, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Miranda Chan
Affiliation:
New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey
Christina Tan
Affiliation:
New Jersey Department of Health, Trenton, New Jersey
Rebecca S. Noe
Affiliation:
The National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
Amy F. Wolkin
Affiliation:
The National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Alice M. Shumate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 315 E. Montgomery Avenue, Spokane, WA 99207 (e-mail: wii5@cdc.gov).

Abstract

Timely morbidity surveillance of sheltered populations is crucial for identifying and addressing their immediate needs, and accurate surveillance allows us to better prepare for future disasters. However, disasters often create travel and communication challenges that complicate the collection and transmission of surveillance data. We describe a surveillance project conducted in New Jersey shelters after Hurricane Sandy, which occurred in November 2012, that successfully used cellular phones for remote real-time reporting. This project demonstrated that, when supported with just-in-time morbidity surveillance training, cellular phone reporting was a successful, sustainable, and less labor-intensive methodology than in-person shelter visits to capture morbidity data from multiple locations and opened a two-way communication channel with shelters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;10:525–528)

Type
From the Field
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015 

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Footnotes

The CDC Shelter Surveillance Working Group includes Amy Schnall, MPH; Michelle Murti, MD, MPH; Cindy Chiu, PhD, MPH; Tala Fakhouri, PhD, MPH; Satish Pillai, MD, MPH; Niu Tian, MD, PhD; and Joanna Watson, DPhil.

References

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Effectiveness of Using Cellular Phones to Transmit Real-Time Shelter Morbidity Surveillance Data After Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey, October to November, 2012
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