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A multi-data source surveillance system to detect a bioterrorism attack during the G8 summit in Scotland

Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Probabilities. Mathematical Statistics
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Medicine


In 18 weeks, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) deployed a syndromic surveillance system to early-detect natural or intentional disease outbreaks during the G8 Summit 2005 at Gleneagles, Scotland. The system integrated clinical and non-clinical datasets. Clinical datasets included Accident and Emergency (A and E) syndromes, and General Practice (GPs) codes grouped into syndromes. Non-clinical data included telephone calls to a nurse helpline, laboratory test orders, and hotel staff absenteeism. A cumulative sum-based detection algorithm and a log-linear regression model identified signals in the data. The system had a fax-based track for real-time identification of unusual presentations. Ninety-five signals were triggered by the detection algorithms and four forms were faxed to HPS. Thirteen signals were investigated. The system successfully complemented a traditional surveillance system in identifying a small cluster of gastroenteritis among the police force and triggered interventions to prevent further cases.

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