Date of Conferral
Date of Award
Due to pandemic threats and the occurrence of biological terrorism, technological advancements are being vetted, developed, and implemented as part of surveillance systems and tools. A potential surveillance tool is infrared thermography (IRT), and its efficacy for screening was the focus of this dissertation. IRT-screened participants' temperatures were compared to laboratory diagnostics to confirm the presence or absence of influenza-like illness (ILI). An archival dataset of personnel on United States Navy and Marine vessels that were identified as exceeding an ILI threshold limit provided the data for the 320 study participants. Using a guiding thermo-science framework, derived from past IRT studies, the primary research question concerned whether IRT could statistically differentiate between afebrile participants (without ILI) and febrile participants (with ILI) using receiver operating characteristics (ROC). Results showed that IRT could differentiate between febrile and afebrile participants 91% of the time (ROC = 0.91; χ 2 = 230.71, p = < 0.01), indicating excellent efficacy in this study setting. In addition, the correlation between oral temperatures and IRT surface temperatures was analyzed by gender. A strong correlation between the two variables for males (r = 0.90, n = 226, p < 0.01) and females (r = 0.87, n = 94, p < 0.01) was shown with little variance between the genders (observed z = 1.12, SE= 0.26). These findings have significant positive social change implications as they could provide senior public health decision makers with informed knowledge of IRTs benefits and limitations for rapid screening of febrile individuals in public settings to impede the transmission of ILI.