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Open access
26 October 2020
ISEE 2020 Virtual Conference: 32nd Annual Conference of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology

Using Electronic Health Record Data to Monitor Trends in Human Illness from Algae Exposure

Publication: ISEE Conference Abstracts
Volume 2020, Issue 1


Introduction: Short-term health effects have been associated with Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) exposure through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation of the algal toxins. Recorded symptoms include skin, eyes, nose, or throat irritation, headache, neurological symptoms, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Little is known about the prevalence of these and other health symptoms related to HAB exposure in the United States. Electronic health records (EHR) present an opportunity to study the prevalence and geographic distribution of health events related to algae exposure. We evaluated the use of EHR for modeling of HAB health events across the United States. Methods: Three EHR databases were searched for use of medical diagnostic codes and key-terms within the medical record related to algae exposure. Records were summarized by demographics, location, and time. A descriptive analysis summarized the health symptoms and procedures listed as part of the clinical encounter. Results from all EHR databases will be presented. Results for the largest EHR database assessed are discussed below. Results: The IQVIA database had a total of 13,046 medical records with algae-related exposure from January 2006 to June 2019. Of these, only 290 patients had a direct diagnosis of algae exposure. Patients with algae exposure were mostly female (64%) and non-Hispanic white (87%). The mean age of patients was 38 years (range 1-85). Comparisons of this data to environmental data over space and time are currently underway and will be presented.

Information & Authors


Published In

ISEE Conference Abstracts
Volume 2020Issue 126 October 2020


Published online: 26 October 2020



A. Lavery
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
L. Backer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.
J. Daniel
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

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