EpiScanGIS: a geographical information system for laboratory surveillance of meningococcal disease in Germany

Abstract number: 1733_743

Reinhardt M., Elias J., Albert J., Frosch M., Vogel U., Harmsen D.

Objectives: The early detection of meningococcal disease outbreaks is important in order to minimise morbidity and mortality through timely enforcement of prevention and control measures. The availability of temporal, spatial and molecular typing data of cases allows the implementation of an online geographic information system (GIS) including objective cluster detection routines. This service should enable members of the public health community to make more informed decisions based on the latest surveillance data.

Methods: Specimens or strains from patients with IMD are typed at the NRZM using a well-proven highly discriminatory approach including serogrouping and DNA sequence typing of the outer membrane proteins PorA and FetA (Elias et al., EID 2006). Case data are stored in a protected, local, custom designed database (MS Access). On a weekly basis, an anonymised fraction of the data is transferred to a PostgreSQL database server (Linux OS). The automated visualisation of the data is handled by the PostGIS and UMN MapServer software components. OpenLaszlo generates Flash-code to deliver these maps in an interactive graphical user interface for a geographical information system (GIS) web server. Additionally, data are scanned weekly for finetype-specific spatiotemporal clusters in a prospective fashion employing the freely available software SaTScan by Michael Kulldorff ( Moreover, the system generates interactive slide shows within freely selectable time frames.

Results: An online GIS has been set-up, which currently includes data of 2,300 cases of invasive meningococcal disease. To date, the system has 55 registered users, mainly from the public health sector. 25–30 visitors of the site are counted daily. The system optimises the flow of information between public health services, laboratories, healthcare workers, and the public. This proves to be increasingly useful for the evaluation of regional and national epidemiologic changes of invasive meningococcal disease.

Conclusion: The innovative web service EpiScanGIS provides the health community and the general public with easily accessible enriched maps displaying current surveillance data from the NRZM. Furthermore, it implements a national early outbreak detection system. Its inclusion of several non-commercial software packages following a modular ``model-view-controller'' design makes it easily expandable and adaptable to the surveillance of other infectious agents.

Session Details

Date: 31/03/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Location: ICC, Munich, Germany
Presentation type:
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