Florida has a very broad public records
law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding
state business are public records available to the public and media upon
request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public
The Merlin system is essential to the control of disease in Florida.
It serves as the state's repository of reportable disease case reports,
including automated notification of staff about individual cases of
high-priority diseases. Data collected in Merlin can be viewed using
Florida's Communicable Disease Frequency Reports.
Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications
to or from state officials regarding state business are public records
available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail
communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.
Merlin is available to Department of Health employees and access can be
contacting the Merlin Helpdesk.
Part of FDENS, EpiCom is the Department of Health's disease outbreak
communication system. This system is used to communicate essential
information regarding public health issues to partners throughout the
The EpiGateway system includes several different modules, including
County Flu Activity reporting, Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality reports,
and RSV activity reporting, that assist county health department staff and
Bureau of Epidemiology staff with recognizing and responding to outbreaks
and thus mitigating risk of morbidity and mortality. In addition, EpiGateway allows hospitals to electronically report cases of notifiable
County Health Department workers, hospital infection control
practitioners, RSV sentinel providers, and Vital Statistics staff can
access EpiGateway. To request an account go to
The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of
Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE) is a biosurveillance system that
collects emergency department chief complaint data from participating
hospitals and urgent care centers in Florida, call data from the Florida Poison
Information Center Network, reportable disease data from the Merlin
database, and mortality data from the Florida Office of Vital Statistics. The objective of this surveillance system is to provide the
epidemiologist with the data sources and analytic tools needed to
identify outbreaks or unusual trends more rapidly, leading to a more
timely public health response.
system is valued, trusted and relied upon daily by state and county level
epidemiologists across FDOH program areas (epidemiology, immunizations,
environmental health- chemical, vectorborne, waterborne and foodborne
disease programs) to detect outbreaks and unusual cases, monitor morbidity
and mortality and provide situational awareness including after events
such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, pandemic influenza, Gulf oil
ESSENCE-FL from Syndromic Surveillance to Routine Epidemiologic Analysis
Technical assistance and development of the ESSENCE system is provided
by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. For more information
please view the
ESSENCE user guide
(FL. v1.0) or to obtain
access, contact the Bureau of Epidemiology
at (850) 245-4401.
The Florida Department of Health Emergency Notification System allows
for the rapid sharing of information about disease outbreaks and other
threats. This system is managed by the Office of Public Health
Preparedness and contains information on all hazards to the state of
Florida. Access to this system is available to Department of Health
employees as well as other state and local partners with an interest in
public health. To request access, contact the FDENS Helpdesk.