Looking for historic data on U.S. diseases?

The University of Pittsburgh has released Project Tycho, a collection of disease surveillance reports in the United States going back 125 years. Project Tycho provides open access to U.S. weekly surveillance data from 1888 to the present with a free log in.

A core team of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh collected weekly notifiable disease surveillance tables published between 1888 and 2013 from various historical reports that included the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Many of these approximately 6,500 tables were only available in paper or other formats that were not readable by computers. Thus they needed to be hand-entered to be digitized for the project. The data includes death counts, reporting locations, time periods
and diseases.

The most complete and standardized data is in Level 1 and includes 8 diseases. Level 2 data has been standardized and includes 47 diseases, 50 states, and over 1,000 cities. Level 3 data has not been standardized but will be provided upon request. It includes 56 diseases, 50 states, over 100 counties, and nearly 3,000 cities.

Details on the methodology, levels of data, and more are available on the Project Tycho website.

An article about Project Tycho was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on November 28th titled, “Contagious diseases in the United States from 1888 to the present.” To read it, you can go to the CDPH Special Contracted Services page. Then scroll down to click on PubMed under Key Resources. Once there, you can enter the PMID number 24283231 or title for this article in the search box to access it.