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Biosecur Bioterror. 2011 Dec;9(4):386-93. doi: 10.1089/bsp.2011.0020. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

The key to enabling biosurveillance is cooperative technology development.

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U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland 21010-5183, USA.


The world population will continue to face biological threats, whether they are naturally occurring or intentional events. The speed with which diseases can emerge and spread presents serious challenges, because the impact on public health, the economy, and development can be huge. The U.S. government recognizes that global public health can also have an impact on national security. This global perspective manifests itself in U.S. policy documents that clearly articulate the importance of biosurveillance in providing early warning, detection, and situational awareness of infectious disease threats in order to mount a rapid response and save lives. In this commentary, we suggest that early recognition of infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring or man-made, requires a globally distributed array of interoperable hardware and software fielded in sufficient numbers to create a network of linked collection nodes. We argue that achievement of this end state will require a degree of cooperation that does not exist at this time-either across the U.S. federal government or among our global partners. Successful fielding of a family of interoperable technologies will require interagency research, development, and purchase ("acquisition") of biosurveillance systems through cooperative ventures that likely will involve our strategic allies and public-private partnerships. To this end, we propose leveraging an existing federal interagency group to integrate the acquisition of technologies to enable global biosurveillance.

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