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Ohio Hospitals Join In Early Warning System

Move Could Help Detect Potential Terrorist Activity. Hospitals in Ohio are joining with others to watch for signs of a terrorist attack, a move health officials say could play a vital role in early detection. Some Cincinnati and Columbus health care centers will send information about emergency room patients to the University of Pittsburgh, where computers will monitor surges in rashes, respiratory illnesses and other symptoms that could signal a biological or chemical attack. Other hospitals around the state also are expected to join with the help of $330,000 in federal money. “The faster we can identify an outbreak, the faster we will be able to treat patients,” said Carol King, vice president of emergency services at the Health Alliance, a health system that includes six hospitals in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. A similar early warning system was in place in Utah during the 2002 Winter Olympics. About 100 metropolitan areas around the country have some sort of detection plan, said Dr. Tracee Treadwell, chief epidemiologist with the bioterrorism preparedness and response program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Full Story

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