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Injury Surveillance Toolbox

Traumatic Brain Injury Surveillance

Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. Each year, approximately 1.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury, resulting in 50,000 deaths, over one million emergency department visits, 235,000 hospitalizations, and 80,000-90,000 permanent severe neurological disabilities. Although 75% of traumatic brain injuries are considered mild, about 15% of these persons continue to experience negative consequences 12 months later. Many survivors with serious injuries experience a variety of symptoms and impairments, such as physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems that may require months or years of rehabilitation.

In 1991, the Oklahoma legislature and the Oklahoma Board of Health passed a mandate that data on traumatic brain injuries be collected. Statewide surveillance for hospitalized and fatal traumatic brain injuries has been conducted by the Injury Prevention Service since 1992. The history, methodology used, and lessons learned by the Injury Prevention Service are outlined in Traumatic Brain Injury Surveillance in Oklahoma.

Natural Disasters and Terrorism

Disaster planning and response has become an important component of public health activities in the United States as in the rest of the world. Natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths in recent years. Terrorist attacks such as the bombing of public buildings and transportation systems have also taken their toll in lost lives and injuries.

The Oklahoma Injury Prevention Service conducted injury surveillance following two natural disasters (tornadoes in 1999 and 2003) and two terrorist attacks (the bombing of the A. P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the bombing of the U.S. Air Force residential compound Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996). Data was collected on the number, types, and severity of injuries, as well as the long term effects on survivors. The data was used to inform the public, researchers, and policy makers about the events, and to find ways to improve disaster preparedness and response, and build safer buildings.

To assist other states in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, we have posted the survey questionnaires and data abstraction forms that were used in these studies. Please contact us at (405) 271-3430 if you have any questions or comments.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted many types of surveillance forms at Public Health Assessment and Surveillance after a Disaster.

Oklahoma City Bombing

Summary Report: Oklahoma City Bombing Injuries

1999 Tornado

Injury Update: Investigation of Deaths and Injuries resulting from the May 3, 1999 Tornadoes

2003 Tornado

Injury Update: Injuries Treated in Hospitals following the May 8 and 9, 2003 Tornadoes in Oklahoma City


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