Syndromic Surveillance Ontology


Most syndromic surveillance systems use data from ED visits, often free-text chief complaints. Classification of chief complaints into syndromes is often inconsistent, due to the lack of agreement about the concepts that define a syndrome and how individual terms or strings map to these concepts. The Syndromic Surveillance Ontology addresses this problem by formally encoding a set of consensus definitions for syndromes in terms of ED chief complaints in a standard shareable format. The goal of the project is to ensure that consensus syndrome definitions are disseminated broadly, maintained collaboratively, and incorporated easily into automated systems.

Consensus syndrome definitions that constitute a conceptual foundation for the SSO was generated by an expert group of syndromic surveillance developers and practitioners representing 10 operating surveillance systems. The group developed definitions for four syndromes: Influenza-Like Illness, Constitutional, Respiratory, and Gastrointestinal, with Respiratory and Gastrointestinal syndromes having sensitive and specific definitions.

About us

The SSO is developed collaboratively by 3 research groups across the world: