What historical illness or symptom data exists? There are so many health-related data sources on healthdata.gov, data.gov, CDC, etc. I'd like to identify the most useful data across all existing sources.

For example, I'd like to know that strep throat, croup, or the common cold were going around last year at this time. Alternatively, I'd like to know if certain symptoms were going around (ex: cough, nausea, etc).

Ideally the data would:

  • Have a location associated with illnesses to some degree (region, state, zip, or hospital)
  • Have a time period associated with it (quarter, month, week, or day).
  • Be available through an API or feed of some type.
  • Be collected by a reputable source, a government agency for example.

Please submit one data source per response and check for duplicates before posting.

1 Answer 1


you ought to start reading http://asdfree.com and play around with http://www.google.com/trends/ :)

the easiest county-level data set to work with is the area health resource file. this won't have individual cases, but it'll have many small-area counts of different things health-related over many years.

the data set probably with most of the characteristics you've described is the surveillance epidemiology and end results cancer incidence data. it's got data over many years, but only for a handful of (nationally-representative) states

of the other major health surveys - brfss, meps, nhanes, and nhis - only meps has event-level/icd-9 data, only brfss has state- or sub-state-level data, and only nhanes has biological information.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.