Health Surveillance - State of Florida
UPDATE: This information is current as of July 27, 2010, 9:00 AM 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, through the Florida Poison Information Center Network (FPICN). 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 (July 4 – July 10)
During this time period, ESSENCE found three emergency department patients who reported touching the oil or breathing fumes from the oil. The three patients had one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, headache, dry cough, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
FPCIN received 19 reports of oil exposure during this time period. Fifteen of the calls came from Florida Panhandle counties, two of these calls came from counties outside of the Panhandle, and county location information was not available for two of the calls.
Eleven of the callers from the Panhandle reported experiencing symptoms possibly related to their exposure, including dizziness, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, headache, throat irritation, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Eight of these callers reported that their exposures were from breathing fumes from the oil. Two callers reported touching the oil, and one caller reported possibly touching the oil, swallowing the oil, and/or breathing fumes from the oil. These callers reported experiencing symptoms including throat irritation, skin irritation or pain, itching, and red eye or pink eye (conjunctivitis).
As of July 7, 2010, FPICN is receiving reports of oil spill-related exposures through direct calls to three regional poison centers and through reports from an external partner poison center. Florida has performed back-entry of the calls received at the external partner poison center prior to July 7; therefore FPICN currently contains all exposure calls placed from Florida related to the oil spill.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
888-337-3569 (Florida Oil Spill Information Line)