Tick-borne diseases are an important cause of human morbidity in North
Carolina. This study evaluated the use of routinely collected veterinary
hospital and human hospital emergency department (ED) data for earlier
signal detection compared with routine reporting of tick-borne diseases
to the North Carolina Division of Public Health in 2006 and 2007.
The Early Aberration Reporting System was used to detect the earliest
indication of an increase in number of dogs infested with ticks that
were brought to veterinary hospitals and in number of people presenting
to EDs with a tick-related chief complaint or who had an ED
International Classification of Diseases diagnosis code of tick-borne
Results indicate that systematic monitoring of veterinary hospital and
human ED data can detect increases in tick activity 4 weeks earlier than
the current surveillance method, which would facilitate timely
initiation of tick prevention and increased clinical awareness among
veterinarians and physicians.