RealNews

Health Data Monitored for Bioterror Warning

To secure early warning of a bioterror attack, the government is building a computerized network that will collect and analyze health data of people in eight major cities, administration officials say. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to lead the multimillion-dollar surveillance effort, which officials expect to become the cornerstone of a national network to spot disease outbreaks by tracking data like doctor reports, emergency room visits and sales of flu medicine. “Our goal is to have a model that any city could pick up and apply,” a senior administration official said of the plan. Officials would not disclose the program’s cost or which cities will be involved. But experts say Washington is likely to be one of the eight. Such surveillance is now possible because of an explosion in commercial medical databases that health authorities, with permission and under strict legal agreements, are starting to mine. Full Story

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