Early Detection and Monitoring of Gastrointestinal Infections Using Syndromic Surveillance: A Systematic Review

Olubusola Adedire*, Nicola K. Love, Helen E. Hughes, Iain Buchan, Roberto Vivancos, Alex J. Elliot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The underreporting of laboratory-reported cases of community-based gastrointestinal (GI) infections poses a challenge for epidemiologists understanding the burden and seasonal patterns of GI pathogens. Syndromic surveillance has the potential to overcome the limitations of laboratory reporting through real-time data and more representative population coverage. This systematic review summarizes the utility of syndromic surveillance for early detection and surveillance of GI infections. Relevant articles were identified using the following keyword combinations: ‘early warning’, ‘detection’, ‘gastrointestinal activity’, ‘gastrointestinal infections’, ‘syndrome monitoring’, ‘real-time monitoring’, ‘syndromic surveillance’. In total, 1820 studies were identified, 126 duplicates were removed, and 1694 studies were reviewed. Data extraction focused on studies reporting the routine use and effectiveness of syndromic surveillance for GI infections using relevant GI symptoms. Eligible studies (n = 29) were included in the narrative synthesis. Syndromic surveillance for GI infections has been implemented and validated for routine use in ten countries, with emergency department attendances being the most common source. Evidence suggests that syndromic surveillance can be effective in the early detection and routine monitoring of GI infections; however, 24% of the included studies did not provide conclusive findings. Further investigation is necessary to comprehensively understand the strengths and limitations associated with each type of syndromic surveillance system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number489
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • diarrhoea
  • early detection
  • gastroenteritis
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • syndromic surveillance
  • vomiting


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