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Fefferman, Nina; Naumova, Elena (2011)
Publisher: Emerging Health Threats Journal
Journal: Emerging Health Threats Journal
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects:
The emergence of new infections and resurgence of old ones — health threats stemming from environmental contamination or purposeful acts of bioterrorism — call for a worldwide effort in improving early outbreak detection, with the goal to ameliorate current and future risks. In some cases, the problem of outbreak detection is logistically straightforward and mathematically easy: a single case of a disease of great concern can constitute an outbreak. However, for the vast majority of maladies, a simple analytical solution does not exist. Furthermore, each step in developing reliable, sensitive, effective surveillance systems demonstrates enormous complexities in the transmission, manifestation, detection and control of emerging health threats. In this communication we explore potential future innovations in early outbreak detection systems which can overcome the pitfalls of current surveillance. We think that modern advances in assembling data, techniques for collating and processing information, and technology that enables integrated analysis will facilitate a new paradigm in outbreak definition and detection. We anticipate that moving forward in this direction will provide the highly desired sensitivity and specificity in early detection required to meet the emerging challenges of global disease surveillance. (Accepted: 20 May 2010) Citation: Emerging Health Threats Journal 2010, 3:e6. doi: 10.3134/ehtj.10.006

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