Evaluation of school absenteeism data for early outbreak detection, New York City

Besculides, Melanie; Heffernan, Richard; Mostashari, Farzad; Weiss, Don
January 2005
BMC Public Health;2005, Vol. 5, p105
Academic Journal
Background: School absenteeism data may have utility as an early indicator of disease outbreaks, however their value should be critically examined. This paper describes an evaluation of the utility of school absenteeism data for early outbreak detection in New York City (NYC). Methods: To assess citywide temporal trends in absenteeism, we downloaded three years (2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04) of daily school attendance data from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) website. We applied the CuSum method to identify aberrations in the adjusted daily percent absent. A spatial scan statistic was used to assess geographic clustering in absenteeism for the 2001-02 academic year. Results: Moderate increases in absenteeism were observed among children during peak influenza season. Spatial analysis detected 790 significant clusters of absenteeism among elementary school children (p < 0.01), two of which occurred during a previously reported outbreak. Conclusion: Monitoring school absenteeism may be moderately useful for detecting large citywide epidemics, however, school-level data were noisy and we were unable to demonstrate any practical value in using cluster analysis to detect localized outbreaks. Based on these results, we will not implement prospective monitoring of school absenteeism data, but are evaluating the utility of more specific school-based data for outbreak detection.


Related Articles

  • Alert System to Detect Possible School-based Outbreaks of Influenza-like Illness. Mann, Pamela; O'Connell, Erin; Zhang, Guoyan; Llau, Anthoni; Rico, Edhelene; Leguen, Fermin C. // Emerging Infectious Diseases;Feb2011, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p262 

    To evaluate the usefulness of school absentee data in identifying outbreaks as part of syndromic surveillance, we examined data collected from public schools in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. An innovative automated alert system captured information about school-specific absenteeism to detect...

  • School attendance: Less than perfect can be even better. Dutton, Melissa Kossler // Bay Windows;10/6/2011, Vol. 29 Issue 43, Special section p8 

    The article reports that school districts in the U.S. are reviewing their attendance policies which focus on perfect attendance, because of growing concerns about public health.

  • The Household-Based Socio-Economic Index for Every District in Peninsular Malaysia. Abdul Rahman, Nuzlinda; Zakaria, Syerrina // World Academy of Science, Engineering & Technology;Oct2012, Issue 70, p184 

    Deprivation indices are widely used in public health study. These indices are also referred as the index of inequalities or disadvantage. Even though, there are many indices that have been built before, it is believed to be less appropriate to use the existing indices to be applied in other...

  • School Absenteeism Among Children. NAIR, M. K. C. // Indian Pediatrics;Nov2010, Vol. 47 Issue 11, p921 

    The author addresses the issue of school absenteeism among children, particularly in India. The author believes that absenteeism from school is a serious public health issue for mental health professionals, physicians and educators, and that it is a key risk factor for violence, injury,...

  • Childhood asthma admissions peak with return to school. Dobson, Roger // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);8/26/2006, Vol. 333 Issue 7565, p410 

    The article reports that hospital admissions due to asthma in children peak in the first few days of school. A report in "Public Health" shows that admissions rise steadily throughout the first four weeks of the school year. Study authors say the results show returning to a group setting after...

  • Public health in New York City, 2002-2007: confronting epidemics of the modern era. Thomas R Frieden; Mary T Bassett; Lorna E Thorpe; Thomas A Farley // International Journal of Epidemiology;Oct2008, Vol. 37 Issue 5, p966 

    Long after the leading causes of death in the United States shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases, many public health agencies have not established effective policies and programmes to prevent current health problems. Starting in 2002, the New York City health department, an...

  • Limited measles outbreak, Tunisia, 2002.  // Weekly Epidemiological Record;10/11/2002, Vol. 77 Issue 41, p341 

    Reports on the decline of measle outbreak in Tunisia. National immunization program; Rate of disease transmission; Percentage of vaccination coverage levels.

  • INTERNATIONAL HEALTH REGULATIONS.  // Weekly Epidemiological Record;1/30/2004, Vol. 79 Issue 5, p52 

    Presents international health regulations on notifications of diseases received from 23 to 29 January 2004.

  • U.S. Virgin Islands and Caribbean HIV epidemic need more attention, researchers say.  // AIDS Alert;Apr2008, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p42 

    The article reports on the inadequate attention received by the Caribbean region from HIV researchers and public health officials, which resulted to an epidemic, according to Hilary Surratt, scientist with the Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies of the University of Delaware in Coral Gables,...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics