Mass Gathering Surveillance; Lessons Learned from Hosting the Republican National Convention, Tampa, FL 2012

Monday, June 23, 2014: 5:45 PM
Ryman II, Renaissance Hotel
David Atrubin , Florida Department of Health, Tampa, FL
Janet Hamilton , Florida Department of Health, Tallahassee, FL
Key Objective:

The two local health departments in the Tampa Bay Area, in coordination with the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology, spearheaded disease surveillance activities during the 2012 Republican National Convention.   This roundtable will focus on these disease surveillance efforts and the unique challenges presented by mass gathering surveillance.

Discussion Points:

  • Surveillance efforts need to be tailored to the particularities of the event
  • Political conventions often bring different challenges than other large events
  • Preparation for large events involves the strengthening of normal surveillance systems as well as the addition of new systems

Brief Summary:
While the Tampa Bay Area has hosted other high profile events that required heightened disease surveillance previously (e.g., two Super Bowls), the 2012 RNC marked the first national special security event (NSSE) held in Florida. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County (FDOH-Hillsborough), in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (FDOH-Pinellas) coordinated disease surveillance activities during this time frame.  This presentation will focus of the disease surveillance efforts of the FDOH-Hillsborough during the 2012 RNC. In addition to the surveillance systems that are used routinely, the FDOH-Hillsborough Epidemiology Program implemented additional systems designed to rapidly detect individual cases and outbreaks of public health importance.  The short duration of the RNC, coupled with the large number of visitors to our area, provided additional surveillance challenges. Tropical Storm Isaac, which threatened Tampa in the days leading up to the RNC and an overwhelming law enforcement presence likely dissuaded many protestors from coming to Tampa. As a result, a tiny fraction of the number of protestors that were expected actually showed up, thus minimizing potential threats..