To describe surveillance activities and use of existing state (NC DETECT) and national (NSSP) syndromic surveillance systems during the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games (WEG), in Mill Spring, NC from September 11 to September 23, 2018
NC DETECT collects statewide data from hospital emergency department (ED) visits and Carolinas Poison Center (CPC) calls. NC DETECT also collects data from select Urgent Care Centers (UCC) in the Charlotte area. CPC data are updated hourly, while ED data are updated twice a day. NC DETECT data were monitored daily for census (total ED visits), communicable disease syndromes, injury syndromes, and other occurrences of public health significance related to the event. The geographic areas monitored were Polk County (the location of the main event), the counties where the guests were lodging in the Western NC Region (Henderson, Transylvania, Buncombe, Rutherford, McDowell, and Cleveland), the Charlotte Metropolitan area, and statewide. Because of the large number of people from other states and countries who attended, ED surveillance was mainly conducted by hospitals so that visits were captured for all patients and not just NC residents. WEG dashboards containing ED data were created prior to the event using NC DETECT and NSSP ESSENCE systems, and were accessible to epidemiologists at the state level. NSSP syndrome queries were shared with the neighboring state (SC) public health agency. Surveillance began two weeks prior to the event to establish baseline levels for all ED visits for hospitals in Polk County and the Western NC Region. Surveillance occurred daily before the event, during the event, and for two weeks following the event to account for incubation periods of potential diseases.
The 2018 Equestrian games in Western NC were affected by heavy rain and heat. The weather led to low attendance and cancellation of a few competitions. During the observation period, ED admissions and most of the mass gathering related syndromes in both NC DETECT and NSSP systems were at baseline. ED admissions for motor vehicle collisions and dehydration syndromes were above baseline for 09/19 and 09/21/18 (Figures 3-4). CPC calls and UC admissions for selected UC centers in the Charlotte area were also monitored, and were at baseline.
NC DETECT and NSSP Dashboards provided effective and timely surveillance for the WEG event to assist local public health in the rural NC area with epidemiologic investigations and appropriate response. NC DETECT’s CPC and UC data provided additional valuable information, and complemented ED surveillance during the mass gathering event. Syndromic surveillance became essential during WEG, as NC DPH deployment plans and resource availability changed when Hurricane Florence bore down on the region.
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