Award Date

12-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Department

Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Mark Buttner, Chair

Second Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Third Committee Member

Patricia Cruz Perez

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Labus

Graduate Faculty Representative

Vernon Hodge

Number of Pages

125

Abstract

The influenza outbreak that occurred during 2009 stimulated the formation of several surveillance programs throughout the country. The majority monitor only influenza; however, there are several other circulating respiratory pathogens, especially within the pediatric community. These other respiratory pathogens cause a variety of illnesses, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, croup, etc. Prior research has provided the medical community with valuable information about respiratory illnesses, especially those which afflict pediatric patients. Areas of knowledge including seasonality, demographics, signs and symptoms, prevention measures, and pathogenicity, have been greatly expanded over the years. This information has been of tremendous help to the medical community in identifying respiratory illness. Coupled with surveillance, this can further help to expand the knowledge of illnesses that are circulating, especially for local public health communities.

In May 2009, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory (SNPHL) collaborated to create a new pilot surveillance program, the Enhanced Pediatric Influenza Surveillance project (EPIS). It began like most others and monitored only influenza. Evolution of the program took place and ultimately developed into a more enhanced monitoring program, the Pediatric Early Warning Sentinel Surveillance program (PEWSS). This became a one of a kind program that went above and beyond traditional surveillance, to include more than just the reportable respiratory pathogens. The objective of the PEWSS program is to relay the knowledge of circulating viruses to the community to increase public health awareness and prevention, along with developing seasonal baselines for each virus.

Once a public health program is in place, an evaluation should be conducted to determine the efficacy and usefulness of the system. Evaluations can help streamline the goals and objectives, along with improving the manner in which the program operates. In July 2001, the CDC published guidelines that are used as the basis to evaluate any public health surveillance system. These CDC guidelines were the foundation for the evaluation of the PEWSS program.

The goal of this project was to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the PEWSS program by determining the strengths and weaknesses of the program. In addition, an analysis of the data already collected by the EPIS and PEWSS programs was performed. The PEWSS data were compared to similar local and national data sources. Comparison of data between the PEWSS program and the outside sources showed similar seasons among the different respiratory pathogens, which substantiated the effectiveness of the program. The conclusion of the evaluation and data analysis showed that the PEWSS program is an efficient and effective system that can monitor respiratory illness, and trends, and also provide pertinent circulating respiratory pathogen information to the community.

Keywords

CDC guidelines; Health and environmental sciences; Pediatric respiratory diseases; Pediatric surveillance; PEWSS; Program evaluation; Public health; Respiratory infections in children; Respiratory virus; Sentinel

Disciplines

Epidemiology | Influenza Humans | Pediatrics | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Respiratory Tract Diseases | Virus Diseases

Language

English