A nation-wide survey was conducted in 2009 to collect information about behavioural patterns possibly associated with gastrointestinal illness (GI) in the general Swedish population. One-third of the respondents used various internet and/or telephone resources to find information about GI. Nearly eighty percent said that they buy and consume certain food products or beverages, and one-third of the respondents claimed that they buy over-the-counter pharmaceutical products for treatment of GI. In the present study, information retrieval behaviour on the internet and telephone calls to health care advice services appear to be the most relevant indicators of GI in Sweden.
Key words: Beverages, consumption patterns, foods, drugs, incidence of foodborne and waterborne gastrointestinal illness, health indicators, information retrieval, outbreak detection, over-the-counter drugs (OTC drugs), surveillance.
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