Health Surveillance - State of Florida
UPDATE: This information is current as of August 4, 2010, 9:00 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, 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 11 – July 17)
During this time period, ESSENCE found no emergency department patients who reported oil exposure.
FPCIN received 23 reports of oil exposure during this time period. Eighteen of the calls came from Florida Panhandle counties, four of these calls came from counties outside of the Panhandle, and county location information was not available for one of the calls.
Nine of the callers from the Panhandle reported experiencing symptoms possibly related to their exposure, including dizziness or sense of spinning (vertigo), blurred vision, eye pain and irritation, headache, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, throat irritation, coughing or choking, and temporary narrowing of the airways into the lungs (bronchospasm). The symptoms of the other nine Panhandle callers were not found to be related to their possible oil exposures.
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)