Acute infectious disease presentations among many at-risk patient groups (eg, uninsured, homeless, and recent immigrants) are frequently seen in emergency departments. Therefore EDs may be useful sentinel sites for infectious disease surveillance. This article describes the background, development, and implementation of EMERGE ncy ID NET, an interdisciplinary, multicenter, ED-based network for research of emerging infectious diseases. EMERGE ncy ID NET was established in cooperation with the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the CDC’s strategy to expand and complement existing disease detection and control activities. The network is based at 11 university-affiliated, urban hospital EDs with a combined annual patient visit census of more than 900,000. Data are collected during ED evaluation of patients with specific clinical syndromes, and are electronically stored, transferred, and analyzed at a central receiving site. Current projects include investigation of bloody diarrhea and the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, animal exposures and rabies postexposure prophylaxis practices, seizures and prevalence of neurocysticercosis, nosocomial ED Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission, and hospital isolation bed use for adults admitted for pneumonia or suspected tuberculosis. EMERGE ncy ID NET also was developed to be a mechanism for rapidly responding to new diseases or epidemics. Future plans include study of antimicrobial use, meningitis, and encephalitis, and consideration of other public health concerns such as injury and national and international network expansion.
Talan DA, Moran GJ, Mower WR, Newdow M, Ong S, Slutsker L, Jarvis WR, Conn LA, Pinner RW
Ann Emerg Med 1998 Dec;32(6):703-11