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It would be highly desirable to have a tool that detects the outbreak of a new influenza-like illness, such as COVID-19, accurately and early. This paper describes the ILI Tracker algorithm that first models the daily occurrence of a set of known influenza-like illnesses in a hospital emergency department using findings extracted from patient-care reports using natural language processing. We include results based on modeling the diseases influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and parainfluenza for five emergency departments in Allegheny County Pennsylvania from June 1, 2010 through May 31, 2015. We then show how the algorithm can be extended to detect the presence of an unmodeled disease which may represent a novel disease outbreak. We also include results for detecting an outbreak of an unmodeled disease during the mentioned time period, which in retrospect was very likely an outbreak of Enterovirus D68.


John M Aronis, Ye Ye, Jessi Espino, Harry Hochheiser, Marian G Michaels, Gregory F Cooper. A Bayesian System to Track Outbreaks of Influenza-Like Illnesses Including Novel Diseases. medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences. 2023 May 16

PMID: 37293033

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