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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Surveillance Systems

Contact the Florida Department of Health

  •  850-245-4401

    Mailing Address

    Florida Department of Health 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399 

Surveillance Systems

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.


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. Access to Merlin is available only to approved Department of Health employees. 

The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics - Florida (ESSENCE-FL) is a biosurveillance system utilized by public health professionals across Florida. Data from eleven sources are stored within ESSENCE-FL:  emergency department (ED), free-standing emergency department (FSED) and urgent care (UC) visits; emergency medical service (EMS) calls, poison control center calls, death records, reportable diseases (excluding cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB), inpatient hospitalizations, disaster medical assistance teams (when deployed in FL), weather stations, and air quality.

ESSENCE-FL allows users to monitor overall trends by categorizing visits using patient chief complaints and discharge diagnoses. Integrated visualization tools enable overlaying of data from various data sources. Versatile free-text queries can be created by users, which allow data sources to be queried for any disease or hazard. ESSENCE-FL provides epidemiologists with the data sources and analytic tools needed to identify outbreaks or unusual trends more rapidly, leading to more timely public health responses.

The system is valued, trusted and relied upon daily by state and county level epidemiologists across FDOH program areas (epidemiology, immunizations, environmental health, 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 spill, etc.

The ESSENCE-FL system was designed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research. For more information please view the ESSENCE user guide (FL. v2.0) or email

The Florida Department of Health has an established online public health alert and notification network capable of rapid distribution of health alerts and messages to a defined set of individuals. The current application for the network that provides real-time secure communications is the Everbridge Mass Notification System. The system provides public health professionals and key response partners timely and relevant access to information necessary to respond to incidents or events that may be of urgent public health consequence.

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Acrobat Reader may be required to view these files.