CDC Releases Two Respiratory Disease Dashboards

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare   

COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause severe disease resulting in preventable deaths, thousands to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and millions of illnesses each year in the United States. This combined disease burden can impose a strain on healthcare systems during periods of intense circulation or cocirculation. We know that access to timely data is critical for understanding trends in virus circulation, estimating disease burden, and responding to outbreaks. While CDC tracks COVID-19, flu, and RSV hospitalizations through sentinel surveillance systems, until now, there has not been one place to find integrated data on all three viruses.

This week, CDC is releasing two dashboards. First, the Respiratory Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RESP-NET) interactive dashboard comprising data from three networks that conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, influenza, and RSV-associated hospitalizations among children and adults. The networks gather data from acute care hospitals in select counties in 13 states covering more than 29 million people and include an estimated 8-10 percent of the U.S. population.

RESP-NET interactive dashboard can be used to follow trends and see comparisons of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV-associated hospitalization rates in different demographic groups including by age, sex, and race and ethnicity, and across seasons. The dashboard is updated weekly.

Second, the CDC is also releasing another dashboard that provides a view of emergency department visit data for multiple respiratory diseases tracked by the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). NSSP is a collaboration between CDC, federal partners, state and local health departments, and academic and private sector partners to collect, analyze, and share electronic data received from multiple health care settings. Data are monitored for a subset of emergency departments across the United States. By tracking symptoms of patients in emergency departments—before a diagnosis is confirmed—public health can detect unusual levels of certain respiratory illnesses, which can serve as an early warning system for troubling increases or outbreaks.