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Volume 8, Number 8—August 2002

Research

Use of Automated Ambulatory-Care Encounter Records for Detection of Acute Illness Clusters, Including Potential Bioterrorism Events

Ross Lazarus*†Comments to Author , Ken Kleinman‡§, Inna Dashevsky‡, Courtney Adams‡, Patricia Kludt¶, Alfred DeMaria¶, and Richard Platt*‡§
Author affiliations: *Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; †University of Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney, Australia; ‡Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; §CDC Eastern Massachusetts Prevention Epicenter and HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ¶Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA;

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Table 2

Lower respiratory syndrome by census tract, Massachusetts: sample small area report for March 4, 2002a

Population center Census tract code Cases in tract Denominator in this tract No. of days between counts this extremeb
Randolph 250214202 4 1,232 1
Brookline 250214006 2 730 1
Boston 250250902 1 136 1
Somerville 250173507 2 918 1
Boston 250250304 1 225 1

aNo census tract had an unusual number of new lower respiratory syndrome episodes on that day. The five most extreme tracts are shown, plus all with counts not expected to occur more than once per month. Tracts with most extreme counts are compared with their own history.
bEstimated number of days between counts this extreme in any of the 529 census tracts, when data are adjusted for this tract's unique characteristics, as well as month, day of week, holidays, and secular trend.

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