Health Surveillance - State of Florida
UPDATE: This information is current as of June 9, 2010, 6:00 PM ET
Florida is using the ESSENCE (Electronic Surveillance System for Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics) system, which tracks the symptoms reported by emergency department patients around the state, as well as data from calls to Poison Centers. The system looks for specific symptoms that could potentially be related to breathing, swallowing, or touching the oil. These symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, and skin problems, as well as issues with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Florida officials are using these systems in six coastal counties to look for trends in the symptoms that could be potentially related to the oil spill. If they observe an increasing trend in these symptoms, Florida’s state and local departments of health will look to see if there is a relationship between the oil exposure and the symptoms.
Findings (May 6 – May 23)
In two of the reporting counties, ESSENCE found an increased number of reports of wheezing and difficulty breathing on several days. ESSENCE also found an increase in reports of asthma in three of its reporting counties for several days. These illnesses were not judged to be related to the oil spill; they appear to be related to a general increase in upper respiratory infections in northwest Florida.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
888-337-3569 (Florida Oil Spill Information Line)