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Status Brief

The topic of Biosurveillance came into the forefront of homeland security issues shortly after the anthrax attacks of 2001, at which time five people died and dozens became sick. (Hsu, 2008) The damage could have been more severe had not the proper authorities intervened in isolating the situation. After the attacks, authorities feared future bio-agent attacks on U.S. soil, so they established open lines of communication and surveillance between hospitals, clinics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other pertinent authorities in hopes of figuring out ways on how to combat future outbreaks, and in most cases predict/detect them before they occur. ( &, 2004)

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Since its inception, there have been many developments in the field of Biosurveillance. Some of these innovations include:

  • alarm sounding sensors integrated into ventilation systems to detect trace amounts of lethal toxins (Smith, 2004)
  • glass slides capable of holding numerous samples of biological agents for testing (Janoski, 2004)
  • a burgeoning computer system that can spot early signs of a bioterror attack ( &, 2004)
  • programs providing real-time information of emerging biological threats (Berger, 2006)

Many of these developments are connected to the World Health Organization (WHO), so that if an outbreak occurs, actions could be taken quicker. Also, the Strategic National Stockpile, an emergency cache of critical pharmaceuticals, has been greatly expanded and currently has 60 million treatment courses of antibiotics for anthrax and pneumonic plague, as well as 300 million does of smallpox vaccine. (Hsu, 2008) As of right now, all 50 states are able to receive urgent disease reports around-the-clock and conduct year-round surveillance for many diseases. (Hsu, 2008)

Current Assessment/State of the Field:

To date, the state of Biosurveillance finds itself at a catch-up point as it continues to face many challenges in incorporating new technology with present ideas for detecting airborne toxins. The technology and desire is there, but no new way to combine the two is being reached quick enough leaving the field at a standstill and growing outdated as each day passes, preventing accurate or timely reports and plans to prevent further disease outbreaks or possible bioterror attacks. (United States Government Accountability Office, 2005) As we continue to improve surveillance for new outbreaks, the field should catch up and, eventually, there should be new plans in place in case any signs of attacks do happen to arise.


As with every new idea, Biosurveillance comes with its own set of setbacks and challenges. A few of these problems include the following:

  • programs to detect airborne releases of biological warfare agents such as anthrax, plague, and smallpox still lack basic technical data to help medical officials respond to alerts (Hsu, 2008)
  • a new generation of sensors that would sniff out threats more quickly has been delayed (Hsu, 2008)
  • a coordinated plan to respond to a widespread outbreak still doesn’t exist (Hsu, 2008)

One key factor about Biosurveillance is that it needs to be sufficiently sensitive to detect infectious agents that have not yet resulted in large numbers of diagnosed cases (Baker & Fidler, 2006). A way to do this is through a method called Syndromic Surveillance, but such surveillance has not proven to be effective in detecting emerging infectious disease early enough (Baker & Fidler, 2006). As of late, there have been modest gains towards preventing another attack similar to the anthrax attack of 2001, raising questions whether or not enough is being done by the government and public health officials to prevent a massive bioterror attack from happening (Hsu, 2008).


While the state of Biosurveillance is not in complete turmoil, there have been numerous suggestions made on how to improve some measures being used and some proposals to try new things. A list of suggestions include:

  • surveillance quality and identifying interventions for improvement (MMWR, 2002)
  • the use of the Web to strengthen the partnership among clinicians and local public health officials in order to respond quicker to any disease outbreak or bioterrorism-related events (M’ikanatha, 2004)
  • the development of major public health IT (networks) initiatives (United States Government Accountability Office, 2005)

Some people believe that if there is an effective e-health infrastructure in place, we’ll have the potential to deal with disease outbreaks before they become pandemics. (Dearne, 2009) Once doctors, hospitals, labs, and researchers are all on board with e-health software, it becomes easily possible to automatically analyze patient records or medical processes to identify risks, flag alerts, and speed up diagnostic or treatment responses. (Dearne, 2009)

Web Resources

ACHA Pandemic Influenza Surveillance in Colleges and Universities

Early Warning Inc.The Pathogen Problem“, Profile section of Early Warning Inc., (c) Early Warning Inc. 2008. Last Checked 9/18/2010

  1. “Early Warning is a spin-off from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.”
  2. “Early Warning was formed to exploit the improved capabilities of nanotechnology in biodetection and developed a new generation of new products for rapidly detecting pathogens in industrial, environmental, and subsequently medical applications.”
  3. “In June 2007, Early Warning obtained an exclusive license to commercializing NASA’s biosensing platform.”
  4. “The Company developed its biosensor internally, with input and participation from engineers at NASA under a 5-year Space Act Agreement for product enhancements. The automated sampling system, concentrator and wireless communications were developed with a $2.3 million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


Betts, Richard, “The New Threat of Mass DestructionForeign Affairs. 26. January/February 1998

  1. ”The importance of the different types among WMD has shifted. Biological weapons should now be the most serious concern, with nuclear weapons second and chemicals a distant third.” – page 27
  2. “The most troubling conclusion for foreign policy as a whole is that reducing the odds of attacks in the United States might require pulling back from involvement in some foreign conflicts. American activism to guarantee international stability is, paradoxically, the prime source of American vulnerability.” – page 28
  3. ”Rolling along in what some see as a revolution in military affairs, American forces continue to make unmatched use of state-of-the-art weapons, surveillance and information systems, and the organizational and doctrinal flexibility for managing the integration of these complex innovations into ‘systems of systems’ that is the key to modern military effectiveness.” – page 28
  4. ”The primary risk is not that enemies might lob some nuclear or chemical weapons at U.S. armored battalions or ships, but it is that they might attempt to punish the United States by triggering catastrophes in American cities.” – page 30
  5. ”Biological weapons have received less attention than the others, but probably represent the greatest danger.” – page 30
  6. ”The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) requires the United States to destroy its stockpile.” – page 31
  7. ”One simple fact should worry Americans more about biological than about nuclear or chemical arms: unlike either of the other two, biological weapons combine maximum destructiveness and easy availability.” – page 32
  8. “A host of minor measures can increase protection or recovery from biological, nuclear, or chemical effects. Examples are stockpiling or distribution of protective masks; equipment and training for decontamination; standby programs for mass vaccinations and emergency treatment with antibiotics; wider and deeper planning of emergency response procedures’ and public education about hasty sheltering and emergency actions to reduce individual vulnerability.” – page 37

Chemical, Military, WMD, CWC, Biosurveillance, U.S. Foreign Policy


MMWR, “Reporting Of Laboratory Confirmed Chlamydial Infection And Gonorrhea By Providers Affiliated With Three Large Managed Care Organizations–United States 1995-1999,” Journal of American Medical Association, pgs. 1933-1934, 2002.

  1. “Surveillance for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) depends on health department receiving reports of positive STD test results from laboratories or of STD cases by clinicians.”
  2. “The finding indicate that state health departments were notified of 78%-98% of chlamydia cases and of 64%-80% of gonorrhea cases identified in these MCOs.”
  3. “To improve surveillance quality, other MCOs, including network model MCOs, which provide most STD care in the United States, should evaluate surveillance quality and identify interventions for improvement.” *”For this evaluation, each MCO created a database of positive tests for chlamydia infection and/or gonorrhea among MCO members.”
  4. “Laboratory-confirmed cases of chlamydia infection and gonorrhea were matched to state STD registry databases in Minnesota and Massachusetts by patients name, date of birth, sex, specimen collection date, and disease pathogen, and in Colorado by patient name, date of birth, and date of positive test.”



Lombardo, Joseph, S., “The ESSENCE II Disease Surveillance Test Bed for the National Capital Area,” Johns Hopkins Technical Digest, pp. 327-334, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2003.

  1. “The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, version two (ESSENCE II), is being developed through a collaboration between the DoD Global Emerging Infections System and APL [Applied Physics Laboratory]. ESSENCE II uses nontraditional health indicators in syndromic groupings coupled with advanced analytical techniques in an advanced information technology environment.” p. 327
  2. “The contamination and closure of major medical centers, even if only temporary, could have an impact on the health of the populations they serve. To mitigate the consequences of such an event, an effective public health campaign must be launched early in the course of the outbreak.” p. 327
  3. “Disease surveillance began in Europe in the 14th century as a means of controlling disease within communities. IN the United States, disease reporting began in 1741 when Rhode Island passed an act requiring tavern keepers to report patrons with contagious diseases.” p. 327
  4. “ESSENCE II has been a tool for health department epidemiologists to support the early recognition of abnormal disease patterns within the NCA [National Capital Area].” p. 334.
  5. “ESSENCE I is a worldwide military syndromic surveillance system operated by the DoD Global Emerging infections System (DoD-GEIS). ESSENCE II relies solely on the acquisition and processing of existing data from various sources.  It is also unique in that it is the only known system to integrate both military and civilian health indicators.” p. 328
  6. “ESSENCE II is being developed as a test bed for the National Capital Area (NCA). As such it permits the implementation and evaluation of novel surveillance concepts.” p. 328
  7. “ESSENCE II modules implement the following: Policies to ensure the privacy of personal health care information. Policies governing the exchange of information among other surveillance systems, Data achieve …detection of abnormalities in the indicator data, [controls for] special events or environmental conditions that warrant changes in detection parameters …identify false positives … current or historical trends, Visualization of user interfaces, Processes for injecting simulated data for training and measuring the performance of ESSENCE II detectors and indicators.” p 328
  8. “The data needed to effectively use and operate ESSENCE II fall into three distinct categories: sensitive health care information, publically available information, and products of external surveillance.” p. 329
  9. [Data collected includes:] “chief-complaint data from hospital emergency rooms; International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes used for billing patient visits for private practice groups; over-the-counter (OTC) sales of pharmaceuticals that can be used for sefl-medication; nurse hotline calls; school absentee records; etc.”
  10. “We have grouped these data streams into the ”sensitive heath care” category because they may acquired and used only in conformance with privacy laws, corporate policies, memoranda of agreements, etc.” p. 329
  11. “ESSENCE II data achieve is partitioned into three parts: public domain information, sensitive health care data, and data that are subject to the policies agreed upon by the providers and users of the data.” p. 330
  12. “The traditional gold standard is a confirmed laboratory result, but this data source may not provide the timeliness needed to respond to a widespread outbreak caused by a covert attack with a weaponized disease.” p. 330
  13. “One problem with the removal of all personal identifiers on nontraditional clinical data is that a single case of illness could show up in several of the data streams used for surveillance.” p 330
  14. “In addition, the processes implemented must fit into the business rules and privacy policies of the organizations supplying the data.” p. 331
  15. “Most data available to ESSENCE II can be resolved down to only the patient zip code.” p. 331
  16. “A basic function of ESSENCE II is to deliver alerts and surveillance information to civilian public health authorities in the NCA.” p. 332
  17. “Separate user names and passwords are provided so that ESSENCE II can recognize each authorized user and give only the data the user is authorized to view. …a director of epidemiology would have access to all the information within his or her jurisdiction as well as the shared information from the surrounding jurisdictions.” p. 332

Biosurveillance, Public Health, Military


Pavlin, Julie,”Innovative Surveillance Methods for Rapid Detection of Disease Outbreaks and Bioterrorism: Results of an Interagency Workshop on Health Indicator SurveillanceAmerican Journal of Public Health, August 2003.

  1. “A system designed to rapidly identify an infectious disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack and provide important demographic and geographic information is lacking in most health departments nationwide.” (Pg. 1)
  2. “One of the primary goals of public health is to prevent disease in a community. To best prevent disease, knowledge of existing disease rates, risk factors, and the effectiveness of preventive measures is necessary.” (Pg. 1)
  3. “Unfortunately, most infectious disease surveillance systems are passive and rely on practitioners voluntarily reporting to the public health system” (Pg. 1)
  4. “The Department of Defense’s Global Emerging Infections System sponsored a meeting in May 2000 that focused on 3 areas: (1) identifying surveillance system needs, (2) examining existing prototype systems attempting to meet these needs, and (3) identifying the ideal features of a “system of surveillance systems” that would be more timely, sensitive, and flexible in terms of detection and response.”(Pg. 1-2)
  5. “The strengths of these systems include large populations that can be placed under surveillance; previously, it was often the case that only those meeting reportable disease conditions were followed.” (Pg. 2)
  6. “After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deployed 45 epidemic intelligence service officers to New York City to assist in a syndromic surveillance effort.” (Pg. 2)
  7. “Bringing together information from various health indicator data sets can allow public health practitioners to (1) evaluate many indicators simultaneously, (2) compare variations and identify common trends, and (3) track confounding factors and decrease false alarms. (Pg. 3)

Bioterrorism, CDC, Syndromic Surveillance, Biosurveillance


Hobbes, John,“Communicating Health Information to an Alarmed Public Facing a Threat Such as a Bioterrorist Attack”. Journal of Health Communication. 2004.

  1. “The Internet revealed much potential for effective and interactive communication in a sensitive and complex situation such as a bioterrorist attack.” (Pg. 1)
  2. “Yet, ultimately, investigation revealed that only four letters containing anthrax had been distributed through the postal system (Broad, 2002), demonstrating the ease with which a relatively small-scale bioterrorist attack could disrupt a population.” (Pg. 2)
  3. Finally, poor communication between the various healthcare workers and researchers, namely, public health officials, physicians, and field workers (both at the federal and state levels) resulted in a much slower response to the emerging risks than would be desirable.” (Pg. 3)
  4. “A key advantage the Internet has over traditional media is that the Internet provides multiple branches of information, all accessible almost simultaneously, and which the user can easily maneuver between. During the anthrax threat, the Internet also allowed for innovative communication devices such as interactive tutorials on anthrax self-care” (Pg. 5)
  5. “In the two days after the terrorist attacks, one out of four Internet users went online in addition to monitoring television and radio reports” (Pg. 5)
  6. “This is especially salient given that during the height of the bioterrorist threat many people were likely afraid to travel away from home. In some cases, when a number of cities issued warnings of potential threat, people preferred to stay at home or close to home; one survey published on September 15 found that ‘‘about 9% of Americans say that in the first two days after the terror attacks they cancelled some travel Plans”” (Pg. 5)
  7. “An advantage of this mode of communication is that it allows for more targeted information to be quickly distributed to patients from a trusted medical practitioner. However, although there is a demand from patients for e-mail communication with doctors (Deering, 2001), physicians are somewhat hesitant to adopt this practice. Through agencies such as the CDC, the government could help medical professionals by e-mailing them key messages, links to approved sites, and indicators of emerging risks.” (Pg. 6)
  8. “Search engines play a key role in organizing information for the public during a bioterrorist attack. The Internet industry in cooperation with the government should develop transparent protocols for organizing key information during emergency situations so that credible and validated sites are called up first when people search for information.” (Pg. 7)
  9. “However, there is some evidence that health information on the Internet does affect people’s management and response to health risk. The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 61% of those who searched online for health information—or about 43 million Americans—said that the information they found on the web improved the way they take care of themselves” (Pg. 7)
  10. “Wider use of e-mail from medical practitioners to patients could provide significant benefits in getting targeted messages on risks and suggested behavioral changes to patients, building on assumed trust between patient and physician. Finally, greater use and integration of shared electronic medical records made possible through Internet technology will provide considerable benefit in tracking emerging risks.” (Pg. 8)

Public Health, Anthrax, CDC, Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance


Editors, “Systematic Review: Surveillance Systems for Early Detection of Bioterrorism-Related Diseases“. American College of Physicians. 2004.

  1. “the recent outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza strikingly demonstrate the continuing threat from illnesses resulting from bioterrorism and related infectious diseases. In particular, these outbreaks have highlighted that an essential component of preparations for illnesses and syndromes potentially related to bioterrorism includes the deployment of surveillance systems that can rapidly detect and monitor the course of an outbreak and thus minimize associated morbidity and mortality”(Pg 1.).
  2. “Little is known about the accuracy of surveillance systems for bioterrorism and related emerging infectious diseases, perhaps because of the diversity of potential data sources for bioterrorism surveillance data; methods for their analysis; and the uncertainty about the costs, benefits, and detection characteristics of each.”(Pg. 1)
  3. “Because most patients with bioterrorism-related diseases initially present with influenza-like illness, acute respiratory distress, gastrointestinal symptoms, febrile hemorrhagic syndromes, and febrile illnesses with either dermatologic or neurologic findings, we considered these conditions to be the bioterrorism-related syndromes.”(Pg. 2)
  4. “We identified 2 types of systems for surveillance of bioterrorism-related diseases or syndromes: those that monitor the incidence of bioterrorism-related syndromes and those that collect and transmit bioterrorism detection data from environmental or clinical samples to decision makers.”(Pg. 3)
  5. “The Interim Biological Agent Detector is used on U.S. naval ships to continuously monitor the air for a significant increase in particulate concentrations (32, 39–42). If a peak increase is detected, the instrument automatically collects an aerosol sample and alerts the ship’s damage control center so the crew can collect and screen the sample with a handheld antigen test.” (Pg. 5)
  6. “Our systematic review identified 115 existing surveillance systems, 29 of which were designed for surveillance of illnesses and syndromes associated with bioterrorism relevant pathogens. The evidence used to judge the usefulness of the reviewed systems is limited. Of the studies that evaluated systems for their intended purpose, few adhered to the CDC’s published criteria for high-quality evaluations of surveillance systems.”(Pg. 6)
  7. “Systems for bioterrorism surveillance require 3 key features: timeliness, high sensitivity and specificity, and routine analysis and presentation of the data that facilitate public health decision making.” (Pg. 6)
  8. “Systems with inadequate specificity may have frequent false alarms, which may result in costly actions by clinicians and public health officials”(Pg. 7)
  9. “Systems that collect pharmaceutical data, such as EPIFAR (198), are promising for bioterrorism surveillance. Pharmaceutical data, particularly over-the-counter medication sales data, can indicate an outbreak, although these data would probably not be specific for bioterrorism. In addition, most pharmaceutical sales are tracked electronically.” (Pg. 7)

Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Biodetection, Public Health, Pharma


Zilinskas, Raymond, et. al., “A Discussion Of Findings And Their Possible Implications From A Workshop On Bioterrorism Threat Assessment And Risk Management,Risk Analysis, vol. 24, No. 4, pgs. 901-909, 2004.

  1. “A quantitative bioterrorism risk assessment would need data or well-informed judgments on the intent of terrorist groups or individuals, their technical capabilities, the attributes of pathogens or toxins that might be used in a biological attack, target characteristics, and the occurrence (frequency) of various attack scenarios.”
  2. “A search of the CNS Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism database…revealed that out of 383 incidents in which biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological agents were used by criminals or terrorists during the time 1900 to the present, only 77 biological ‘events’ were perpetrated. Of these, just four post-1945 events generated more than 10 casualties.”
  3. “Bioterrorism involves the use of pathogens or toxins against human, animal, or plant populations by a terrorist group to achieve political, social, or religious aims.”
  4. “Biocriminality involves the use of pathogens or toxins by an individual or group to attack human, animal, or plant populations for reasons of greed, blackmail, revenge, or other apolitical motives.”
  5. “The likely low rate of future attacks involving pathogens also makes it very difficult to calibrate, much less validate, whatever assessment methodology might be developed.”
  6. “By putting together data derived from content analysis of the threatening statement, an assailant’s history, and interviews of persons who are or were acquainted with the assailant, sufficient information can be collected for a fairly robust assessment of the threat that assailant presents to society in general and to a particular target.”
  7. “This process (vulnerability analysis) may also be referred to as logic modeling, problem formulation, or conceptual modeling. Available information might include: pathogens or toxins that might be used to harm the target area’s population and/or contaminate its environment, methods that might be used to disperse pathogens or toxins to achieve attack objectives, and the means attackers would use to emplace mechanisms for dispersing pathogens or toxins so as to have the highest probability of harming the target population and contaminating environs.”
  8. “For a longer-term project, we suggest augmentation and enhancement of vulnerability studies through the application of quantitative risk estimation techniques, supported by use of modeling exercises.”
  9. “Risk estimation then gathers what quantitative data are available regarding the attack scenario and proceeds through four steps–hazard characterization, hazard identification, exposure assessment, and risk characterization.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


M’ikanatha, Nkuchia, et. al., “Research Letter: Use Of The Web State And Territorial Health Departments To Promote Reporting Of Infectious Disease,Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 291, No. 9, pgs. 1069-1070, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. “We surveyed state epidemiologists in the 57 health jurisdictions that participate in the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). This…survey assessed the availability of an up-to-date reportable disease list on the Web and of Web-based reporting for physicians.”
  2. “Epidemiologists from 56 of the 57 jurisdictions responded to the survey. Forty-seven (84%) reported that they had current reportable disease lists on the Web, and 5 (9%) indicated they had secure Web-based capability for physician reporting.”
  3. “We also found considerable variation in Web-based information on reporting requirements for diseases potentially related to bioterrorism.”
  4. “More effective use of the Web could strengthen the partnership among clinicians and local Public Health officials that is vital for recognition of and response to disease outbreaks and bioterrorism-related events.”

Bioterrorism, Public Health, Biosurveillance


Smith, Stephen, “Bioterror Research Spurs Ideas In Medicine,” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, pg. 1, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. “Boston-area scientists are developing a sensor capable of sounding an early alarm about acts of bioterrorism, a paperback-sized device that would be integrated into ventilation systems to detect trace amounts of Anthrax, Ricin, and other potentially lethal toxins.”
  2. “In an illustration of scientific cross-pollination becoming more common in Boston and nationally, the same technology is about to be tested as a way to diagnose disease.”
  3. “Brigham and Women’s Hospital plans to begin a study this summer of whether the sensor can pinpoint when patients are suffering from diabetes, a heart attack, a lung infection, or some other medical condition by analyzing gases in their breath.”
  4. “The device samples air drawn through heating and cooling systems.  Fine, airborne particles are broken down into their molecular building blocks, with electrical charges placed on those molecules so that they can be recognized by the detector.  Then, the charged components travel across a tiny electrical field tuned to allow only potentially threatening agents to reach the end.”
  5. “When one of the suspect molecules makes it through, the sensor compares it with molecular fingerprints of rogue agents stored in its computer.  If a match is made, an alarm sounds.”
  6. “The scientists working on the sensor said tests show it can successfully identify three harmless strains of bacteria that are cousins of anthrax.”
  7. “Stoto questioned the practicality of sensor systems, arguing that a terrorist could circumvent them.  Instead, he advocated investing in surveillance networks to swiftly identify outbreaks of unusual illness in patients by monitoring every cough, sniffle, and stomachache reported to emergency rooms and physician offices.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism, Anthrax, Ricin


Janoski, Dave, “Duryea, Pa., Firm, University of Scranton Team Up In Bioterror Fight,” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, pg. 1, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. “Schott Nexterion…produces glass slides used in genetic and biotech research…it has developed a glass/plastic composite platform that can hold up to 96 samples of suspected biological agents for testing.”
  2. “The University of Scranton’s Institute of Molecular Biology and Medicine…has been working on methods to quickly identify biological agents by analyzing their genetic material.”
  3. “By combining their research, the company and university hope to develop probes that would be able to analyze a large number of samples in the case of multiple suspected terrorist attacks using biological agents.”
  4. “‘We’re trying to develop a screening technique that would be able in hours to screen for every type of bioterror agent simultaneously.'”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


Griffith, AndreaNorth Carolina Hospitals Beef Up Surveillance To Track Bioterror Events,Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, pg. 1, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. “Emergency rooms statewide will implement a new surveillance system that allows officials to track alarming trends in disease outbreaks and bioterrorism. The North Carolina Division of Public Health and the North Carolina Hospital Association are teaming up to install the system, which is designed to improve the state’s ability to recognize and react to situations such as bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.”
  2. “The surveillance system will give officials a(n) ‘every 12-hour look’ at public health.”
  3. “‘The goal is to be able to post trends in admission early in the event of a bioterrorism event.'”

Public Health, Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


King, Warren, “Washington State Bioterror Monitoring Expands To Animals,Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, pg. 1, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. “State health officials are expanding their early warning system for a bioterrorist attack by employing the help of rabbits, squirrels, mice and other critters.”
  2. “As part of the state’s biological-warfare defense, state veterinarians recently began monitoring unusual small-animal deaths for evidence of tularemia, plague or other diseases that could be cause by lethal agents.”
  3. “Small animals likely would show symptoms and die faster than humans after being exposed to a lethal biological agent.”
  4. “In the animal reporting system, plague and tularemia are receiving special emphasis because they are considered among the highest risks for an attack and can infect both animals and humans.  Anthrax, often mentioned as a threat, also could be detected in animals, especially cattle, sheep and goats, where it occurs naturally.”
  5. “Plague, tularemia and anthrax…can be easily disseminated or transmitted person to person, can cause many deaths, and can cause panic.”
  6. “Plague is usually fatal unless treated with antibiotics within 24 hours of onset.  Typically, those who are infected experience fever, weakness and rapidly developing pneumonia.”
  7. “If inhaled, tularemia bacteria can cause abrupt fever, headache, muscle aches and potentially fatal pneumonia, if not treated quickly with antibiotics.”
  8. “The new surveillance looks for ‘die-offs’ of vulnerable animals — a group of wild animals dying quickly without apparent explanation.”
  9. “Establishing a database of information on wildlife deaths will help veterinarians to determine quickly which infections are natural and which might be from bioterrorism.”
  10. “Unusual, unexplained symptoms may indicate the introduction of a disease from abroad, such as with the monkeypox outbreak a year ago.”

Biosurveillance, Monkeypox, Bioterrorism, Plague, Anthrax, Tularemia &, “Bioterrorism; Monmouth University Developing System To Detect Disease, Terror Attacks,Medical Devices & Surgical Technology Week, pg. 39, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. “Researchers at Monmouth University are developing a computer system to quickly spot early signs of a bioterror attack or serious disease outbreak by pooling information from key medical facilities.”
  2. “Monmouth’s system will connect computer databases at New Jersey pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and veterinary offices. It should be able to detect spike and other patterns in symptoms of emergency room patients, medicines purchased at drug stores, reasons for children missing school, even what illnesses veterinarians are treating pets for – because symptoms of some illnesses show up first in animals.”
  3. “The statewide Rapid Response Database eventually would be connected to the CDC and the World Health Organization, so that if an outbreak were detected, recommendations could be made to emergency medical workers on everything from possible antidotes to the need for quarantine.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism &, “Yale University; Novel Method Estimates Time And Size Of Bioterror Attack For Real-Time Use,” Biotech Week, pg. 1008, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. “‘In the event of a bioterror attack, rapidly estimating the size and time of attack enables short-run forecasts of the number of persons who will be symptomatic and require medical care.'”
  2. “‘We present a Bayesian approach to this problem for use in real time and illustrate it with data from a simulated anthrax attack.'”

Anthrax, Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism &, “Bioterror Detection; Firm To Provide Contract Research For Homeland Security Project,” Science Letter, pg. 104, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. “Under the agreement, Accelrys will employ its proprietary technology in statistical modeling and analysis to help determine the anticipated sensitivity and selectivity of the detection tools, which will be used to monitor for the presence of bacteria, viruses and toxin-proteins.”
  2. “Northrop Grumman will be participating in the effort to develop Bioagent Autonomous Networked Detectors (BAND), which will be used to continuously monitor for bioagents in outdoor urban areas.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism &, “Awards; Technology Awards With Focus On Anti-Terror Research Includes Biocheck Kit Maker,” Drug Week, pg. 53, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. “The Center’s latest solicitation releases in June specifically sought technology submissions that addressed antiterrorism applications such as force protection, port and obrder defense, and security and maritime and land logistics security.”
  2. “Another will help 20/20 GeneSystems develop a second-generation of its BioCheck hazardous substance analyzer…to extend capabilities of the BioCheck kit used by first responders to screen suspicious powders suspected of containing anthrax and other bioterror agents.”
  3. “An individual researcher received…grant to develop a rapid bioluminescent bioassay system that assesses toxicity in water and sediments. The QwikLite technology…measures toxins within 24 hours. Conventional sediment testing usually requires up to 13 days to yield results.”

Anthrax, Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


International Health Regulations (2005). Part II, Art. 5.1,

  1. “Each State Party shall assess events occurring within its territory by using the decision instrument in Annex 2. Each State Party shall notify WHO, by the most efficient means of communication available, by way of the National IHR Focal Point, and within 24 hours of assessment of public health information, of all events which may constitute a public health emergency of international concern within its territory in accordance with the decision instrument, as well as any health measure implemented in response to those events.”

Biosurveillance, WHO


United States Government Accountability Office, “Information Technology: Federal Agencies Face Challenges In Implementing Initiatives To Improve Public Health InfrastructureGAO Report To Congressional Requestors, June 2005.

  1. “To encourage the integration of health care system response plans with public health department plans, the HHS has incorporated both Public Health preparedness and hospital performance goals into the agreements that the department uses to fund state and local public health preparedness improvements.”
  2. “In April 2004, the President established the goal that health records for most Americans should be electronic within 10 years and issued and executive order to ‘provide leadership for the development and nationwide implementation of an interoperable health information technology infrastructure to improve the quality and efficiency of health care.'”
  3. “These networks are to allow for secure and timely sharing and discussion of essential information concerning bioterrorism and other public health emergencies, as well as recommend methods for responding to such an attack or emergency.”
  4. “Two major initiatives at DHS–primarily focused on signal interpretation and biosurveillance…more work remains, particularly in surveillance and data exchange.”
  5. “The Department of Health and Human Services has primary responsibility for coordinating the nation’s response to public health emergencies, including bioterrorism.”
  6. “To improve the development of major public health IT initiatives, GAO recommends, among other actions, that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (to) (1) establish clear linkage between the initiatives and the national health care strategy and federal health architecture and (to) (2) encourage interoperability through the adoption of standards for health care data and communications.

Bioterrorism, Public Health, Biosurveillance, Homeland Security



  1. “Al-Qa’ida documents recovered from a training camp in Afghanistan show interest in a variety of biological agents and mentioned plague, anthrax, cholera and tularemia.”
  2. “To determine threat, we examine an actor’s capability and intent. We assess capability based on factors such as the actor’s level of skill or knowledge, their ability to acquire a biological agent, the materials necessary to grow the agent and their capacity to effectively disseminate a biological agent. For intent, in addition to the actor’s desire to simply use biological weapons, we discern which agents they are more likely to pursue, their preferred method of deployment and which targets they intend to attack.”
  3. “Last month one of our analysts provided some of the Committee members with a classified briefing on the specifics of the current bioterrorist threat to the Homeland.  I will not be able to revisit this classified threat assessment in this open forum but we would be happy to provide this information to additional members in a closed session.”
  4. “On occasion, we require quick access to information that does not reside within IA. In these cases, our analysts are supported to the Biodefense Knowledge Center (BKC)—a 24×7 support cell based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and sponsored by the S&T Directorate. The BKC possesses vast repositories of biological technical information and is able to access SMEs from around the country, such as the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense (USAMRICD), and the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), in support of a tasking from IA. The BKC compiles the appropriate information and relays it to our analysts who integrate the information into their finished intelligence analysis.”
  5. “Our analysts regularly collaborate with other intelligence agencies, particularly NCTC, DIA, FBI, and CIA.  We also work with experts from government, academic, and private institutions and partner with scientists who keep us abreast of their potential areas of concern and the trends they see.  Interaction with outside public and private sector institutions keeps us well-informed of new and emerging technology that may be exploited or misused by malicious actors.  For example, IA recently hosted a workshop on emerging biotechnologies and the future biological threat.  This provided a forum for non-governmental experts to provide IA with information of which they believe we should monitor.”
  6. “Our analysts are broadly focused and access a wide array of information in gathering source material for our assessments. They use all-source intelligence, scientific and technical information, terrorist profiles, historical trends, and open source information such as media reports and scientific journal articles.”
  7. “We keep current on foreign State biological weapons program developments as these activities may have implications for future terrorist events. We look at the intent of the enemy, their capabilities, potential scenarios, and attack vectors. Working with counterterrorist experts in the Community, we develop link charts on potential associates here in the United States of operatives abroad who may have received training in WMD capabilities or have knowledge of WMD programs.”
  8. “we assessed the implications of the H2N2 influenza shipment in which a U.S. contractor sent a highly virulent strain of influenza to hundreds of laboratories worldwide. We also recently published an Information Bulletin advising State and local Law Enforcement officials of
    indicators of covert anthrax production. Generally, our products fall into two categories: threat assessments and feasibility assessments.”
  9. “Threat Assessments. Threat assessments are written on known actors and are based on specific intelligence. To determine threat, we examine an actor’s capability and intent. We calculate capability based on factors such as a particular actor’s level of skill or knowledge; their ability to acquire a biological agent and the materials necessary to grow the agent; and their capacity to effectively disseminate a biological agent. For intent, we consider more than just an actor’s desire to use biological weapons. We attempt to discern which agents they are more likely to pursue, their preferred method of deployment, and which targets they intend to attack.”
  10. “Feasibility Assessments. Intelligence is never complete or all-knowing and we cannot wait until intelligence is received in order to consider plausible scenarios or the impact of a particular technique or technology on a bioterrorist’s capability. To move beyond this limitation, IA, in partnership with S&T, conducts assessments of biological processes, emerging technologies, and techniques and determines their feasibility for use in a bioterrorism event.  These assessments include indicators that will help to identify if a particular scenario begins to unfold so we can prevent or disrupt events before they occur. In conjunction with the feasibility assessment, we are producing unclassified excerpts with the indicators which are distributed widely to local, State, Federal officials as well as the private sector to enhance awareness in the field and to increase suspicious activity reporting and trigger investigations where necessary.”
  11. “IA also has produced several bioterrorism-specific ‘‘red team’’ products, which explore issues from a terrorist’s perspective using nongovernmental experts and creative thinkers. These topics have included terrorist use of genetically modified food and recombinant DNA technologies to damage the U.S. food supply; possible terrorist exploitation of a U.S. flu vaccine shortage; and the safety and security impacts of a pandemic influenza outbreak.
  12. “Under the BioShield legislation, DHS is charged with assessing current and emerging threats of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents; and determining which of such agents present a material threat against the United States population. S&T, supported by IA, has been conducting Material Threat Assessments (MTAs) and Material Threat Determinations (MTDs) in order to guide near term BioShield requirements and acquisitions.”
  13. “MTAs … are speculative and represent a best estimate of how an adversary may create a high-consequence event using the agent/weapon in question. Currently, MTAs are drafted by the S&T and IA provides comments on the assessment before it is provided to HHS. In our review, we ensure that the assessment reflects what IA assesses is the general capability of terrorist groups that are pursuing biological weapons.”
  14. “MTAs result in an estimate of the number of exposed individuals, the geographical extent of the exposure, and other collateral effects. If these consequences are of such a magnitude to be of significant concern to our national security, the Secretary of DHS then issues a formal Material Threat Determination to the Secretary of HHS, which initiates the BioShield process. To date, one MTA has been completed for anthrax and MTAs for plague, botulinum toxin, tularemia, radiological devices and chemical nerve agents are underway and an MTA for viral hemorrhagic fevers will be initiated next month. MTDs have been approved for four agents: smallpox, anthrax, botulinum toxin, and radiological/nuclear devices.”
  15. “IA, in cooperation with NCTC and the FBI, is providing WMD outreach briefings around the country. These briefings outline the terrorist WMD threat, including descriptions of the types of weapons used and indicators and warnings aimed at increase awareness and reporting. In the near future, we hope to expand these briefings to other audiences such as academia and the private sector to further increase awareness and reporting.”
  16. “IA will be playing a key role in supplying current intelligence to the National Biosurveillance Integration System (NBIS) operations center once it begins operation later this summer. NBIS will fuse information on human, plant, and animal health with environmental monitoring of air, food, and water systems. This information will be integrated with threat and intelligence information to provide real-time situational awareness and identify anomalies or trends of concern to the Homeland Security Operations Center.”

Project Bioshield, Al-Qaeda, Information Policy, Academia, Lab Safety, Flu, Vaccination, Law Enforcement, WMD, Plague, Anthrax, Biosurveillance, Nuclear, Radiological Surveillance, Cholera, Tularemia


Brookmeyer, Ron, “Editorial: Biosecurity And The Role Of Statisticians,” J.R. Statistical Society, 168, Part 2, pgs. 263-266, 2005.

  1. “Statisticians who work in Public Health are most familiar with designing and analyzing large clinical trials and epidemiological studies to answer questions.”
  2. “We must use modern statistical tools to estimate model parameters together with sensible mechanistic models for the spread of infectious diseases.”
  3. “One way to shorten the silent period is to improve disease surveillance for new outbreaks. Statisticians have been actively engaged in developing and assessing methodological approaches for rapid detection of emerging outbreaks.”
  4. “One example of an approach to speed the detection of an outbreak is Syndromic Surveillance, which refers to the collection and statistical analysis of vast quantities of public health data to detect early symptoms of a new disease.”
  5. “Syndromic surveillance offers that tantalizing possibility of an early warning of an emerging outbreak from data mining rather than waiting until public health officials have been notified of confirmed cases of disease from traditional medical care settings.”
  6. “Another approach to speed recognition of a bioterrorist attack is air monitoring systems for contaminants and pathogens in the environment.”
  7. “Biomedical research is under way to improve diagnostic test, vaccines and therapeutics for the most worrisome pathogens.”
  8. “Statisticians should be at the forefront in assisting policy makers to determine how to apportion limited resources to increase public health preparedness whether the debates involve syndromic surveillance, air monitoring systems, or vaccination programs.”

Bioterrorism, Public Health, Biosurveillance, Vaccination


Berger, Matthew, “New Advisory Panel Will Bridge Science, Intelligence To Deter Bioterrorism,” CQ Homeland Security, May 4, 2006.

  1. “The goal of the panel is to combine the resources and expertise of the intelligence community with medical and science professionals in other parts of government and the private sector.”
  2. “The new panel will assess known and emerging biological threats.”
  3. “‘While such a pandemic would be largely dealt with by those U.S. government agencies concerned with domestic and international public health issues, the (intelligence community) would be looked to for actionable medical intelligence about the spread of pandemic diseases that would not be available publicly for one reason or another.’”
  4. “The intelligence community would also need to ensure that the virus was only being spread naturally, and not by human interference.”
  5. “The intelligence community should be more focused on targeting and collection of bio-intelligence…and should shift its focus from tracking potential bioterrorism materials to tracking people with the motivation, intent and capability to become terrorists.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


Berger, Matthew, “DHS To Award Contract To Integrate Government’s Biosurveillance,” CQ Homeland Security, May 11, 2006.

  1. “The program is expected to provide real-time information of emerging biological threats, both the result of terrorists and natural elements.  Already, the pilot program is being used to give information about the avian influenza.”
  2. “The program will integrate BioWatch, an environmental monitoring system that is used to test in major American cities.  The next version of the system…will be automated, eliminating the need for laboratories to test samples.”
  3. “It will also utilize data from BioSense, a national program to collect biological data from health care organizations across the country, and the Electronic Surveillance system for Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics, or ESSENCE, which gathers data from U.S. military treatment facilities around the world.”

Flu, Biowatch, Biosurveillance


Mosquera, Mary, “DHS To Develop Biosurveillance System For Pandemic,” Tech News (GCN), May 12, 2006.

  1. “The Homeland Security Department expects to award a contract in mid-summer to develop the National Biosurveillance Integration System, a critical piece of the administrations strategy yo handle a pandemic, such as the avian flu.”
  2. “The biosurveillance system will aggregate and integrate information from food, agricultural, Public Health and environmental monitoring and the intelligence community from federal and state agencies and private sources to provide an early warning system for an outbreak or possible bioterrorism attack.”
  3. “The biosurveillance system will also send back to its system partner agencies completed situational awareness in real-time streams.”
  4. “Information will come from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BioSense system, which reports Syndromic Surveillance from hospitals and pharmacies, and the BioWatch system, which monitors aerosols for biothreat agents in major metropolitan areas.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism, Biowatch, Syndromic Surveillance, Flu, Pandemic, Public Health, Homeland Security


Olmsted, Stuart, “Patient experience with, and use of, an electronic monitoring system to assess vaccination responses.Health Expectations. June 2006.

  1. “National Research Council (NRC) report, Networking Health: Prescriptions for the Internet, highlights the potential for information technology (IT) and the Internet to revolutionize health-care delivery in the near future” (Pg. 1)
  2. “When applied to populations, electronic monitoring of many individual patients with chronic or infectious diseases can improve surveillance and management of chronic diseases, as well as reducing health-resource utilization.” (Pg. 1-2)
  3. “In public health practice, a mass vaccination program, whether for pandemic influenza or smallpox, may be strengthened and easier to administer if an electronic system were used to monitor vaccine reactions and side effects.” (Pg. 2)
  4. “Such a system can reduce the need for clinical assessments of vaccine responses, cutting travel time, work absenteeism and clinician time to assess vaccine sites. In addition, a system such as this can act as an early warning device for adverse events.” (Pg. 2)
  5. “Users also reported that the picture on the web or pocket card closely matched the appearance of their vaccine site (143/169; 85%) and that they were confident that what they reported matched their true reaction to the vaccine (147/171; 86%).” (Pg. 3)
  6. “While survey responders in this study were comfortable with a physician tracking their vaccination status via their electronic reports, and many were comfortable with having their take check determined electronically, half of the respondents were not comfortable eliminating the follow-up visit with a health-care provider.” (Pg. 6)
  7. “a similar reporting system may prove useful in public health settings in which large numbers of people will need treatment and follow-up in a short period of time, such as a mass vaccination or prophylaxis during a bioterrorism event, an influenza pandemic or another public health emergency.” (Pg. 6)

Public Health, Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Biodetection, Emergency Response, Vaccination


Baker, Michael & David Fidler, “Global Public Health Surveillance Under New International Health Regulations,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 12, No. 7, pgs. 1058-1065, July 2006.

  1. “IHR (International Health Regulations) 2005 identifies health-related events that each country that agrees to be bound by the regulations must report to WHO.”
  2. “These events include any unexpected or unusual public health events regardless of its origin or source.”
  3. “IHR 2005 also requires state parties …to inform WHO of public health risks identified outside their territories that may cause international disease spread, as manifested by exported or imported human cases, vectors that may carry infection or contamination, or contaminated goods.”
  4. “IHR 2005 defines a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ (PHEIC) as ‘an extraordinary event’ which is determined by the WHO.”
  5. “IHR 2005 contains a ‘decision instrument’ that helps state parties identify whether a health-related event may constitute a PHEIC and therefore requires formal notification to WHO.”
  6. “IHR 2005 includes a list of diseases for which a single case may constitute a PHEIC and must be reported to WHO immediately.  This list consists of smallpox, poliomyelitis, human influenza (flu) caused by new subtypes, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).”
  7. “IHR 2005 also encourages state parties to consult with WHO over events that do not meet the criteria for formal notification but may still be of public health relevance.”
  8. “IHR 2005’s surveillance strategy, especially the decision instrument, has been specifically designed to make IHR 2005 directly applicable to emerging infectious disease events, which are usually unexpected and often threaten to spread internationally.”
  9. “IHR 2005’s purpose is to prevent, protect against, control, and facilitate public health responses to the international spread of disease.”
  10. “IHR 2005 makes surveillance central to guiding effective public health action against cross-border disease threats.”
  11. “Surveillance needs to be sufficiently sensitive to detect infectious agents that have not yet resulted in large numbers of diagnosed cases.”
  12. “One approach to this challenge is Syndromic Surveillance, but such surveillance has not been effective in detecting emerging infectious diseases early.”

Biosurveillance, Flu, Anthrax, Polio, SARS, Smallpox, Public Health


Stout, David, “Democratic Effort To Limit Surveillance Bill Is Blocked,” NY Times Online, Sept 13, 2006.

  1. “The president’s plan for prosecuting suspected terrorists came under renewed criticism from Republicans as the chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee…said his panel would consider a rival plan.”
  2. “As for the president’s plan to prosecute terrorist suspects,…Republicans…,said…they were not backing down on their opposition to White House provisions that would bar a defendant’s access to classified evidence and would redefine standards for treating prisoners under the Geneva Conventions.”



EditorGD in U.S. Army contract for biological detection systemHomeland Security Newswire, 8 April 2008. Last checked:9/16/2010

  1. “The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, has awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products a contract option worth approximately $43 million to produce and test Joint Biological Point Detection Systems (JBPDS).”
  2. “This award is a modification of a 2004 contract and brings the total value to date to more than $200 million.”
  3. “The JBPDS is a self-contained instrument suite that rapidly detects and identifies biological warfare agents. Available in man-portable, shelter- based, ship-based, and trailer-mounted variants, the JBPDS is a Joint Services program and is configured to meet the operational requirements of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.”
  4. “The system provides automatic detection and identification of airborne biological agents at very low levels, triggers local and remote warning systems, and communicates threat information over standard communication systems.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


Dumiak, Michael, “Detecting Bioterror,” Defense Technology International – Science Watch Section, Vol. 2, No. 4, pg. 10, May 1, 2008.

  1. “While bioterror detection systems are currently deployed, early detection of a biological outbreak remains an objective rather than reality.”
  2. “The agency wants these markers to be detectable using trace amounts—less than 30 nanograms—of plasma, fluids, saliva, blood or tears, and the analysis to take no more than 90 min.”
  3. “The move is prompted by two recent research efforts: A National Institutes of Health study that used polycombinase chain reactions or PCR (i.e., cloning) to detect low levels of DNA from pathogens in clinical samples, specifically from the common yeast candida albicans in the bloodstream of rabbits. The other study, from a group doing work in Paris and Tunis, detected human herpes virus-6 DNA in the plasma of hitherto asymptomatic people with repressed disease.”
  4. “There are at least a half-dozen efforts in the U.S. that are aimed at early detection of biological outbreaks and attacks.  These are broken down into two categories: statistical or data-based syndromic biosurveillance, and biodetection, which is more immediate.”
  5. “Darpa has also employed software prototypes using rudimentary automatic translation technology to find meaningful patterns in open-information sources around the world. The technology is based on the MiTAP engine from Mitre Corp., McLean, Va., which now lives on, much modified, at Georgetown University’s Division of Integrated BioDefense.”
  6. “In 2005, Idaho Technology, Inc. of Salt Lake City, rolled out a 40-lb. device for the U.S. Air Force and Army to analyze food, environmental and clinical samples using DNA amplification.  It could reportedly identify a biological warfare agent in 40 min(utes).”

Biodetection, Bioterrorism, Syndromic Surveillance, Biosurveillance


Hsu, Spencer, “Costly Weapon-Detection Plans Are In Disarray, Investigators Say,” The Washington Post, A-Section, Pg. A15, July 16, 2008.

  1. “Bush administration initiatives to defend the nation against a smuggled nuclear bomb or a biological outbreak or attack remain poorly coordinated, costing billions of tax dollars while basic goals and policies remain incomplete.”
  2. “Separately, a five-year-old program to detect the airborne release of biological warfare agents such as anthrax, plague and smallpox in more than 30 major U.S. cities still lacks basic technical data to help medical officials determine how to respond to an alert triggered by the sensors.”

Public Health, Biosurveillance, Plague, Anthrax, Smallpox


Hsu, Spencer, “Modest Gains Against Ever-Present Bioterrorism Threat; An Attack Could Be Hard To Predict With Current Tools,The Washington Post, A Section, Pg. A10, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. “The result: modest gains, at best, toward preventing another attack similar to the one in 2001, in which anthrax bacteria killed five people and sickened 17.”
  2. “‘The potential for something to happen is much greater now than it was in 2001, simply because of developments of technology and education.’”
  3. “The government has not developed a general-use anthrax vaccine.  A new generation of sensors that would sniff out threats more quickly has been delayed.  A coordinated plan to respond to a widespread outbreak still doesn’t exist.  And the rapid increase in the number of researchers registered to work with biological agents, now 15,000 people, has come without enough oversight.”
  4. “A significant bright spot…is the dramatic improvement in government preparations to respond to threats such as smallpox, botulism (botulinum), plague and other biological agents.”
  5. “The Strategic National Stockpile, a emergency cache of critical pharmaceuticals that can be sent within 12 hours to counter outbreaks, has been greatly expanded.”
  6. “The stockpile…has 60 million treatment courses of antibiotics for anthrax and pneumonic plague.  About 300 million doses of smallpox vaccine can also be shipped.”
  7. “Officials say that the government is retooling efforts to encourage drug companies to invest in BioShield projects. and that the effort is paying off in new antitoxins for anthrax and botulism.”
  8. “All 50 states now can receive urgent disease reports around-the-clock and conduct year-round surveillance for diseases such as influenza.”
  9. “But the nation still lacks plans and an organized structure to respond to a massive disease outbreak with thousands of victims.”

Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance, Flu, Plague, Anthrax, Botulinium, Project Bioshield, Smallpox


Spring, Manda, “Bio-Surveillance and Pandemic Surveillance, What’s The Difference?,”, Dec. 12, 2008.

  1. “Bio-surveillance is the technique of tracking communicable diseases such as STDs, salmonellosis, and streptococcal infections.”
  2. “This program requires information on the patient such as location, age, gender, race, and other specifics designed to create a demographic portrait of the current victim(s) and potential victims.”
  3. “Pandemic surveillance is much like Bio-surveillance in the technological aspects. Details about victims are stored in a data base and monitored, tracking the transmission and extent of contagion over time.”
  4. “Disease control and pandemic/epidemic prevention are becoming easier with Bio-surveillance and Pandemic surveillance technology.”
  5. “Knowing when the next outbreak may start or what group may be affected allows the time for specialists to intervene before the outbreak can spread.”

Biosurveillance, Pandemic


Zukas, Walter, Cabrera, Catherine, Harper, James, Kunz, et al.Assessment of Nanotechnology for Chemical Biological Defense,” in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for Chemical and Biological Defense, Chapter 9, American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2009.

  1. ”The term nanotechnology generally refers to the evolving body of tools and knowledge that allow manipulation of material structures at the scale of approximately 10-100 nanometers and to understand the relationship between nanometer scale features and the macroscopic properties of materials.  Rapid progress in the development of analytical tools to probe the nanometer scale and to manipulate materials at this scale has led to a dramatic increase in the number and diversity of research programs on nanoscience and technology.”  P. 10
  2. ”…the deeply scaled dimensions of nanoparticles enhance the surface-area-to-volume ratio, and suitable surface chemistry can then lead to highly efficient sensing schemes or catalytic reactions.” P. 10
  3. ”…sorption-based detection is the one most suited for application of nanotechnology.  ….on the nanoscale of living systems, all sensing and molecular recognition functions are based on sorption of some sort, suggesting that man-made sensing systems aimed at mimicking biological systems will most likely use this mechanism.  When a molecule adsorbs [SIC] to a surface it not only changes the mass at the surface, but it can also impart changes in the electrical, optical, and/or luminescent properties, all of which have been explored as mechanisms for chemical sensing.  High surface-area-to-volume ratio nanostructures generally exhibit amplified responses to these properties, leading to sensor demonstrations with unprecedented sensitivity.” P. 10
  4. ”Nanotechnology may also play a role in development of non-caustic decontamination treatments.  Most non-caustic decontamination chemicals exhibit slower reaction rates with agents than caustic chemicals such as bleach or sodium hydroxide.” P. 10
  5. ”CB agents pose extreme challenges for detection, protection, and decontamination.  Their characteristic feature is their high lethality, so that even minute amounts (micrograms to milligrams) can constitute a lethal dose.  Therefore, the fundamental challenge of CBD is to develop products which are highly sensitive, selective, and efficient.  Sensors must detect agents at levels well below LD50, and still having extremely low levels of false alarms.” P. 12
  6. ”Calometric means to detect this heat would obviate the need for engineering fluorescent centers into the receptor, and could result for a whole new class of sensors, but other detection methods may also be feasible.” P. 14
  7. ”The vast majority of nanotechnology-based CB sensor research has focused on ultra-sensitive transducers such as nanowires, nanotubes, and cantilevers (14-16).  However, sensing elements are only useful if particles of interest are present in the sample volume being interrogated; as the volume decreases, the effective concentration in the sample must increase (17).” P. 14
  8. ”Nano-permeable membranes (NPMs), especially those based on carbon nanontubes, have been the focus of extensive research.  Recently, several groups have reported that the transport of water through nanotube pores is [SIC] orders of magnitude higher than predicted by classical hydrodynamic theories (87-89). … The field appears to have excellent potential to yield substantial valuable results from an investment focused on projects specifically tailored to address chem/bio protection, and the long-standing need for permselective membranes with improved water transport and high selectivity.” P. 18
  9. ”The recommendation is to focus on projects that seek to extend these results to applications of direct relevance to CBD (e.g. chemical and biological agent prophylaxis, vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments) and that seek to demonstrate that the nanoscale features of these methods to offer revolutionary capability improvements when compared to traditional approaches.” P. 18

Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, Biodetection, Biosurveillance, Vaccination, Decontamination


Brown, David, “System Set Up After SARS Epidemic Was Slow To Alert Global Authorities,” The Washington Post, A-Section, pg. A01, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. “Despite huge efforts in the past six years to make the reporting of disease outbreaks fast and automatic, there were significant delays in bringing Mexico’s swine flu outbreak to the full attention of international authorities.”
  2. “The delay in making the global health community aware happened despite the adoption in 2005 of international health regulations regarding nations to report to the WHO within 24 hours any disease outbreak that is serious, unusual, at risk of spreading internationally or potentially disruptive by trade.”
  3. “By the time international authorities became fully aware of the outbreak, there were about 800 cases and at least 50 deaths, and the virus was unknowingly bring carried into other countries.”
  4. “The (international health) regulations descend from the First International Sanitary Conference, held in Paris in 1851 to fight cholera. In content, they owe much to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic of 2003.”

Biosurveillance, SARS, Cholera, Flu, Mexico, WHO


Dearne, Karen, “Real-Time Data Vital In Flu Fight,” The Australian, Finance Section, pg. 25, May 5, 2009.

  1. “‘If there is an e-health infrastructure, we have the potential to deal with disease outbreaks before they become pandemics.’”
  2. “Once doctors, hospitals, labs and researchers are all using e-health software, it becomes possible to automatically analyze patient records or medical processes to identify risks, flag alerts and speed up diagnostic or treatment responses.”
  3. “‘You need a way of capturing data across medical specialties at a central point so you can detect threats early enough to allow time to develop therapies and reduce the risk of a pandemic…We need to be able to share this information across borders and as close to real-time as we can get.’”

Flu, , Pandemic, Biosurveillance


Moloney, Anastasia, “Questions Raised Over Response To Influenza A Outbreak,” The Lancet, Vol. 373, No. 9675, pg. 1591, May 9, 2009.

  1. “In early April, analysts working at Veratect – a US biosurveillance consultancy – picked up a string of reports about unusual respiratory diseases in several states in Mexico, including a health alert in the state of Veracruz on April 6.”
  2. “WHO has also said it was monitoring the situation from April 10 on the basis of reports from Mexican authorities about unusual respiratory cases, and had immediately asked Mexican authorities to investigate. Health officials in Mexico reported back to WHO concluding there was no epidemic.”
  3. “On April 16, the death of a woman with diabetes from acute pneumonia in Oaxaca state prompted Mexican health authorities to alert PAHO about a possible epidemic brewing.”
  4. “WHO issued its first public response about the influenza A outbreak on April 24. That was 18 days after Mexican health officials first raised the alarm locally. By then, the virus had spread across Mexico’s borders to the USA. It was when the USA confirmed seven cases of influenza A (H1N1) on April 24 that international agencies started to respond quickly.”
  5. “So far, the exact source of the outbreak remains a mystery. Un-confirmed rumors point to La Gloria, a dusty town in the southern Mexican state of Veracruz, where it is believed that 5-year-old Edgar Hernandez became infected with the A (H1N1) virus in late March. Some local residents in La Gloria blame the nearby US-owned industrial pig farms for the outbreak of the disease.”

Biosurveillance, Flu, WHO


Law, Tina, “Detector Passes Tests,The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand)  — Business; Business day; pg. 7, June 26, 2009

  1. “A Christchurch manufacturer of a hand-held device that detects lethal anthrax spores is bracing itself for a barrage of sales after strong test results in the United States.”
  2. “Veritide’s ‘Ceeker’ scanner accurately identified 100 per cent of the anthrax samples used over two weeks of testing at the Midwest Research Institute in Florida. The company said it was also correct in 95 per cent of tests involving hoax substances.”
  3. “The technology was first developed at the University of Canterbury and provided test results in a few minutes compared to existing products and technologies that could take 30 minutes to three days. The United States Department of Defence was one customer and had bought several machines for use across the US.”
  4. “The results are being presented today in Baltimore in the United States at Biodetection Technologies 2009, an international conference for experts in detection and identification of biological and chemical threats.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance, Anthrax


Kouri, Jim, “Bio-Surveillance Strategy Report Released,”, Aug. 8, 2009.

  1. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently developing two major initiatives to provide early detection and warning of biological threats: the National Bio-Surveillance Integration Center (NBIC), a center for integrating and coordinating information on biological events of national significance, and the BioWatch program that operates systems used to test the air for biological agents.”
  2. “DHS has made progress making NBIC fully operational as required by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, but it is unclear what operations the center will be capable of carrying out at that point.  DHS has acquired facilities and hired staff for the center but has not yet defined what capabilities the center will have in order to be considered fully operational.”
  3. “DHS has two ongoing efforts to improve the detection technology used by the BioWatch program, which deploys detectors to collect data that are then analyzed to detect the presence of specific biological agents.”
  4. “The Directorate for Science and Technology (S&T) within the DHS is developing the ‘next-generation’ of detectors for the BioWatch program.  DHS plans for this new technology to collect air samples and automatically test the samples for a broader range of biological agents than the current technology.”
  5. “While S&T is completing its work on the new detection technology, DHS is developing an interim solution, managed by the Office of Health Affairs, to enhance it’s current detection technology.  This interim solution is intended to automatically analyze air samples for the same number of biological agents currently monitored by the BioWatch program.”

Biosurveillance, Biowatch


New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College, “Early Detection And Quick Response Are Key To Defense Against Anthrax Attack,” Drug Week, pg. 94, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. “A new study finds that in order for a response to be effective, quick detection and treatment are essential, and any delay beyond three days would overwhelm hospitals with critically ill people.”
  2. “‘No matter how well-organized and prolonged a treatment program is, it must be quickly implemented. In fact, our analysis shows that time-to-treatment is roughly twice as important as the duration of the distribution program.’”
  3. “‘Crucial to rapidly implementing a treatment program is early detection, including thorough use of advanced biosurveillance technologies and live, person-to-person communication. But most important of all are multilateral diplomatic efforts to prevent bioterrorist attacks from ever happening.’”
  4. “The study predicts that a campaign initiated two days after exposure would protect as many at 87 percent of exposed individuals from illness — a rate considered successful by the CDC.”

Bioterrorism, Biosurveillance


Grady, Denise, “System Tracks Flu Cases at Colleges,” NYT, A 17, Sept. 3, 2009.

  1. “Students back at college have already begun coming down with the flu, according to a new tracking system that uses reports from 165 universities in the United States with two million students.”
  2. “The tracking system was set up by the American College Health Association, which will post weekly case data and cumulative figures on its Web site.”

Biosurveillance, Flu, Academia


Hall, Mimi, “Bioterror Failings Criticized in Report,” USA Today, 1A, Oct. 21, 2009.

  1. “The Obama administration is working hard to curb nuclear threats but failing to address the more urgent and immediate threat of biological terrorism, a bipartisan commission created by Congress is reporting today.”
  2. “Disease surveillance programs fall short. The government needs to invest in rapid diagnostic tests to ‘improve the nation’s ability to treat people by providing a more timely and accurate diagnosis’ –something that can be critical to treating the victim of a biological attack.”

Biosurveillance, Bioterrorism


Sasaki, Asami, et al., “Evidence-based Tool for Triggering School Closures during Influenza Outbreaks, Japan,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 15, No. 11, November 2009.

  1. ”Using empirical data on absentee rates of elementary school students in Japan, we developed a simple and practical algorithm for determining the optimal timing of school closures for control of influenza outbreaks.”
  2. ”Influenza pandemic preparedness and seasonal influenza control programs have focused on vaccine development and antiviral drugs, which are only partially effective and not always available to all persons at risk (1–3). Nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as social distancing, represent additional key tools for mitigating the impact of outbreaks.”
  3. ”Because children are a major factor in the transmission of influenza within communities and among households, school closure may be a valuable social distancing method (4,5).”
  4. ”We evaluated the optimal influenza-related absentee rate for predicting outbreaks of influenza.”
  5. ”Our analysis suggests that a single-day at a threshold influenza-related absentee rate of 5%, double-days >4%, or triple-days >3% are optimal levels for alerting school administrators to consider school closure. The double- and triple-day scenarios performed similarly, and gave better results than the singleday. Thus, the double-day scenario might be the preferred early warning trigger.”
  6. ”We used the Youden index for calculating optimal thresholds (7). The Youden index = (sensitivity) + (specificity) – 1. A perfect test result would have a Youden index of 1. For the single-day scenario, the optimal threshold was 5%, with a sensitivity of 0.77 and specificity of 0.73.”

Flu, Public Health, Prophylaxis, Biosurveillance, Japan


Michael A. Taverna, “Threat Interrogation,” Aviation Week & Space Technology – Aviation Security; Pg. 57 Vol. 171 No. 2, July 13, 2009

  1. “A novel neutron detector technology from Sodern promises to significantly improve the ability of airports, drug enforcement agencies, the military and other security organizations to protect against terrorist attacks and illicit trafficking.”
  2. “Neutron tubes have been used for years to accurately determine the chemical makeup of suspect materials, making it possible to see objects such as explosives that cannot be detected by X-ray systems, trace detectors and other means. The most effective type of detectors use associated particle imaging (API), a non-obtrusive neutron interrogation method that significantly reduces the impact of background noise clutter.”
  3. “Sodern relies on a special API tube of its own design capable of generating directional information that—coupled with a time-of-flight measurement device and an electronic database—can quickly pinpoint the location of the hidden threat object and determine its exact nature and hazard level.”
  4. “Moreover, says Philippe Le Tourneur, chief scientist for security system research at Sodern, the technology can be easily automated, permitting unattended operation, and can be readily packaged in compact lightweight containers for use in inexpensive man-portable devices.”
  5. “The price is expected to range from $200,000 or so for the basic version to around $300,000 for a hybrid neutron/X-ray device.”

Biodetection, Biosurveillance


Schmidt, Michael, S., “In Progress, A Network To Observe Midtown,” NYT A18, May 3, 2010.

  1. “The police Department has been planning a high-tech security network for Midtown Manhattan involving surveillance cameras, license plate readers and chemical sensors…”
  2. “The network could have been triggered via its chemical, biological and radiological sensors…”
  3. “The department secured a $24 million Department of Homeland Security grant last fall to begin building the network.”

Biosurveillance, Chemical Surveillance, Radiological Surveillance


Editors, “Efforts to Develop a National Biosurveillance Capability Need a National Strategy and a Designated,” June 2010, United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Last Checked January 2012.

  1. “Federal agencies with biosurveillance responsibilities—including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Agriculture—have taken or plan to take actions to develop the skilled personnel, training, equipment, and systems that could support a national biosurveillance capability.”
  2. “Federal agencies have taken various actions designed to promote timely detection and situational awareness by developing (1) information sharing and analysis mechanisms, (2) laboratory networks to enhance diagnostic capacity, and (3) equipment and technologies to enhance early detection and situational awareness.”
  3. “While national biodefense strategies have been developed to address biological threats such as pandemic influenza, there is neither a comprehensive national strategy nor a focal point with the authority and resources to guide the effort to develop a national biosurveillance capability.”
  4. “GAO previously reported that complex interagency efforts, such as developing a robust, integrated, national biosurveillance capability, could benefit from an effective national strategy and a focal point with sufficient time, responsibility, authority, and resources to lead the effort.”
  5. “Efforts to develop a national biosurveillance capability could benefit from a national biosurveillance strategy that guides federal agencies and other stakeholders to systematically identify risks, resources needed to address those risks, and investment priorities.”
  6. “Further, because the mission responsibilities and resources needed to develop a biosurveillance capability are dispersed across a number of federal agencies, efforts to develop a biosurveillance system could benefit from a focal point that provides leadership for the interagency community.”
  7. “GAO recommends that the Homeland Security Council direct the National Security Staff to identify, in consultation with relevant federal agencies, a focal point to lead the development of a national biosurveillance strategy to guide the capability’s development.”



Russell, Kevin et. alThe Global Emerging Infection Surveillance and Response System (GEIS), a U.S. government tool for improved global biosurveillance: a review of 2009BMC Public Health, 2011, Issue 2, Vol.11, p1-10.

  1. “U.S. DoD has a long and impressive history of infectious disease research and product development.” (pg.9)
  2. “Between 1992 and 1996, numerous documents and communications within DoD recognized the need for global emerging infection surveillance initiatives leveraging these overseas laboratories, and emphasized the commitment of DoD to these endeavors.” (pg.1)
  3. “In 1996, the Executive Office of the President of the United States issued a Presidential Decision Directive (NSTC-7) stating that current capabilities were inadequate to protect the U.S. or global public health communities from emerging infectious disease (EID) threats.” (pg.1)
  4. “The DoD Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DoD-GEIS) was established, thereby expanding the mission of DoD to address threats posed to the U.S. and other nations by newly emerging and reemerging infectious diseases.” (pg.1)
  5. “In 2009, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center- Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) provided direction, funding and oversight to a network of 39 partners at approximately 500 sites.” (pg.2)
  6. “Ninety-two countries were impacted with either active surveillance, capacity-building initiatives or participation in training exercises.” (pg.2)
  7. “With rapidly increasing involvement of other U.S. government agencies, a unique niche that U.S. uniformed officers throughout the world can and should expand engagement is with their global uniformed counterparts.” (pg.8)
  8. “By conducting surveillance and capacity building and assisting with training and outbreak investigations, all integrated into the functions and capabilities of host-country agencies, relationships are forged and trust is developed.” (pg.4)
  9. “In 2009, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spent more than $1.7 billion on health and over $1.4 billion on humanitarian assistance.” (pg.2)
  10. “Fiscal year 2009 appropriations by the U.S. Congress totaled $33.7 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Global Disease Detection Program, the principal and most visible CDC program for developing and strengthening global public health capacity to rapidly identify and contain disease threats from around the world.” (pg.2)
  11. “The U.S. Department of State’s Biological Engagement Program (BEP) received congressional appropriations of $27 million in fiscal year 2009 to engage scientists internationally on issues related to disease surveillance and detection, biosafety, and biosecurity.” (pg.2)
  12. “DoD had a major role in developing and licensing 40 percent of currently available vaccines for adults in the U.S.” (pg.4)
  13. “Funding avenues and oversight for these different U.S. government health and surveillance initiatives are independent of each other, and coordination is complex.” (pg.4)
  14. “The Center for Strategic and International Studies commented that with expanding efforts, agencies should leverage the existing successful programs, and seek a ‘unity of effort.’” (pg.4)
  15. “In November 2009 of the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats (Presidential Policy Directive-2) also emphasizes the need for coordination.” (pg.4)
  16. “Considerable coordination and communication with in-country ministries, academic institutions and other in-country government assets is done by AFSH-GEIS global partners.” (pg.7)
  17. “Collaboration and capacity building conducted by DoD partners is being reexamined to comply with a broader U.S. government response, the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, and the IHR (2005) framework.” (pg.7)
  18. “The White House National Security staff is playing an active role in this U.S. government coordination. By conducting our program in coordination with this whole of US Government, then our capacity building, outbreak assistance and facilitating in-country diagnostic capabilities with host countries will meet the objectives of all by a) reinforcing amiable relationships between host-country government public health assets and DoD partners; b) developing the capability to report ‘public health emergencies of international concern,’ whereby the entire global community and DoD learns, and world preparations to minimize impact can proceed in a unified and transparent manner; and c) improving DoD’s situational awareness through close, transparent, trusting relationships with host countries, even if an actual public health emergency of international concern does not occur.” (pg.7-8)
  19. “The assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear and chemical and biological defense programs recently embraced emerging infections as a threat to national security, placing global surveillance also within scope of that organization.” (pg.2)
  20. “The wisdom of establishing improved global DoD EID surveillance capabilities is reinforced by numerous contributions to global outbreaks, most recently the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.” (pg.9)
  21. “With the framework of current U.S. government guidelines, such as the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats and IHR (2005), the world is closer than ever to truly working together on surveillance and control of infectious diseases without consideration of borders.” (pg.9)

Biosurveillance, CDC


Suk, Jonathan, Zmorzynska, Anna, et al., “Dual-Use Research and Technological Diffusion: Reconsidering the Bioterrorism Threat Spectrum”, PLOS Pathogens, January 13, 2011, last checked February 20, 2011.

  1. ”Activities that have garnered substantial attention include chemically synthesizing the poliovirus [9] and the ΦX174 bacteriophage [10], demonstrating the importance of a variola virus gene for its virulence [11], and reconstituting the 1918 influenza virus [12]. Each has been classified as dual use research of concern (DURC), which is defined by the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) as ‘research that, based on current understanding, can be reasonably anticipated to provide knowledge, products, or technologies that could be directly misapplied by others’.”
  2. ”The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was established in 2005 with the mandate to strengthen Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases through developing European Union–wide surveillance networks and early warning systems, coordinating scientific studies, and identifying emerging health threats.”
  3. ”As a part of ECDC efforts to evaluate potential bioterrorism threats, we reviewed 27 assessments (published between 1997 and 2008) that address the links between life science research and bioterrorism with the objective of identifying DURC relevant for public health (Text S1). The focus of the review was limited to the application of DURC by terrorist organizations and it did not consider state-sponsored biological weapons programs.”
  4. ”…we conducted a threat assessment during an expert workshop. The purpose of this threat assessment was to identify those DURC activities that would be the most easily deployed by bioterrorists. The key parameters for this assessment were the level of expertise required for conducting any given DURC activity and the level of equipment required to conduct the work. In the threat assessment, an estimated threat level was calculated for each DURC activity by giving a score ranging from 1 (high threshold) to 3 (low threshold) for both parameters, and then multiplying these scores to yield the final threat, which could be 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, or 9. Higher scores indicate a higher likelihood of success if they were to be undertaken by bioterrorists.”
  5. ”The recent history of bioterrorism also suggests that more attention should be allotted to low tech threats [30].”
  6. ”We do not suggest that high tech bioterrorism threats do not exist—rather, that their likelihoods should be re-evaluated. Biosecurity policy discussions could gain more nuance and credibility by adopting more sophisticated notions about the challenges inherent in conducting and replicating advanced research.”
  7. “The United States Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism believes it is very likely that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack by the end of 2013, and that an attack with a biological weapon is more likely than one with a nuclear weapon” (Pg. 1)
  8. “Al Qaeda is believed to have failed to obtain and work with pathogens by the early 2000s [32], and this likely remains the case. In comparison, the contamination of food and water, and direct injection/application of a pathogen, all have much lower technical hurdles and might be expected to be rather more successfully deployed [31]. The best known example is the contamination of salad bars with Salmonella by the Rajneeshee cult in 1984, which led to roughly 751 illnesses and 45 hospitalizations” (Pg. 2)
  9. “the most successful ‘‘bioterrorists’’ of all, nature and globalization, which have led to the emergence of numerous new communicable diseases in recent years [39–41]. A focus on strengthening global health security has been put forward by the Obama administration [42] and the European Commission [38], and has also gained prominence in fora such as the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention [43]. Public health, too, is dual use: it can be leveraged to counter natural and intentional disease outbreaks” (Pg. 3)

Dual Use, Bioterrorism, Information Policy, Biosurveillance, Europe


Lyn, TanGrowing number of farm animals spawn new diseases,” Reuters Feb 11, 2011. Last checked Feb 13, 2011.

  1. “A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fuelling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report released on Friday.”
  2. “Some 700 million people keep farm animals in developing countries and these animals generate up to 40 percent of household income, the report by the International Livestock Research Institute said.”
  3. “‘Wealthy countries are effectively dealing with livestock diseases, but in Africa and Asia, the capacity of veterinary services to track and control outbreaks is lagging dangerously behind livestock intensification,’ John McDermott and Delia Grace at the Nairobi-based institute said in a statement on the report.”
  4. “Seventy-five percent of emerging infectious diseases originate in animals, they added. Of these 61 percent are transmissible between animals and humans.”
  5. “The report warned that rapid urbanization and climate change could act as ‘wild cards,’ altering the present distribution of diseases, sometimes ‘dramatically for the worse.’”
  6. “The two researchers urged developing countries to improve animal disease surveillance and speed up testing procedures to help contain livestock epidemics before they become widespread.”

Zoonotic, Developing Countries, Biosurveillance


Editors, “Navy Lab Refines Chem-Bio Sensor Tech,” February 14, 2011. Global Security Newswire, Last checked February 14, 2011.

  1. “The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory announced last week it has refined a potential chemical- and biological-weapon agent scanning system to spot and characterize minuscule amounts of warfare material (see GSN, Jan. 24).”
  2. “Scientists headed by Joshua Caldwell and Orest Glembocki discovered that specially engineered metal nanoparticles make “surface-enhanced Raman scattering” technology 108 million times more sensitive.”
  3. “When enhanced with the material, SERS detection is ‘over an order-of-magnitude more sensitive than the best reported SERS sensors in the literature and the current state-of-the-art large-area commercial SERS sensors,’ Caldwell said in a statement. The refined technology ‘can be a key component of fully integrated, autonomously operating chemical sensors that detect, identify and report the presence of a threat at trace levels of exposure,’ he said.”
  4. “‘While many tools are currently available to detect trace amounts of chemical warfare and biological agents and explosive compounds, a device using SERS can be used to identify these minute quantities of the chemicals of interest by providing a “fingerprint” of the material, which all but eliminates the prevalence of false alarms,’ Glembocki said in the press release.”
  5. “The technique might offer a higher sensitivity, scanning rate and level of mobility than separate spectroscopic detection technologies, according to the statement. The new detection method could augment Raman scanning technologies already employed in portable and longer-distance detection equipment, it adds (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory release, Feb. 10).”

Biosurveillance, Military


Parker, Gerald W., “Homeland Security Threat Countermeasures,” April 13, 2011, FDCH Congressional Testimony, Last checked October 4, 2012

  1. “Our national security is challenged to both accurately identify and rapidly respond to an attack or naturally occurring outbreak with countermeasures that limit impacts and loss of life.”
  2. “DoD is responding to this challenge by building an end-to-end, integrated capability to respond to the threat through enhanced diagnostics, detection, and biosurveillance; and through innovative industrial capacity for advanced development and adaptive manufacture of medical countermeasures for rapid response.”
  3. “The events of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, along with the ongoing challenges and costs associated with development of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasures, revealed major gaps in advanced development and access to domestic surge manufacturing capacity.”
  4. “Factors that have limited progress for developing biodefense vaccines include the inability to leverage the expertise and capabilities of larger, experienced biopharmaceutical companies due to the high opportunity costs of entering the limited chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear medical countermeasure market.”
  5. “The result is a reliance on small biotechnology firms that are engines of innovation and critical for discovery and early development of medical countermeasure candidates, but they have limited advanced development and regulatory experience and limited manufacturing capabilities. This is a costly, inefficient, and risky approach to meet critical biodefense and public health needs.”
  6. “It is crucial that we close the vaccine, antimicrobial and antiviral drug gaps. We cannot afford to take the average 12 to 15 years to develop a medical countermeasure against a single threat, nor can we afford to use the traditional and costly “one bug-one drug“ development paradigm.”
  7. “Detection capabilities are a priority for DoD and include pursuit of research, development, and acquisition of medical diagnostics, environmental detection, and data fusion, management, and decision tools.”
  8. “One diagnostic capability currently fielded with our forces in over 300 locations worldwide is the Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System. It is capable of rapidly identifying multiple biological agents, such as anthrax, plague, and avian influenza.”
  9. “Within DoD, a new laboratory information and communications system, the Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance System, can link together the different levels of a national disease surveillance network within a country providing near real time information flow that can be disseminated to the appropriate organizations in a timely manner.”
  10. “By the end of 2012 there will be 10 Homeland Response Force units capable of responding within hours in each of the FEMA regions to provide more life saving capabilities faster using the same approximately 18,000 personnel assigned to this mission.”
  11. “The Transformational Medical Technologies program addresses novel threats, biologically engineered pathogens, or emerging infectious diseases by developing new detection and therapeutic capabilities.”
  12. “The Medical Countermeasures Initiative encompasses two components: science and technology, and advanced development and manufacturing.”
  13. “One of the innovation drivers will be the ability to manufacture medical countermeasures in a flexible fashion to include “on-demand“ surge capacity for specific products in the event of a national security emergency or change manufacturing runs on different products as the need arises.”
  14. “Ultimately, the Medical Countermeasures Initiative will coalesce to provide a “one-stop“ shop for all future DoD medical countermeasure development.”
  15. “We are putting more emphasis on biodefense, particularly medical biodefense, leveraging the rapid growth in new technologies for our purposes.”

Biosecurity, Biodetection, Biotechnology, Biosurveillance, Biodefense


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