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The Path Toward Improved Biosurveillance

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the finding-patient-zero dept.

United States 25

Lasrick writes "Interesting opinion piece that explains successes and holes in the U.S. system of detecting and responding to pandemics: 'In April 2009, following an experimental protocol, staff members at a Navy lab in San Diego tested specimens from two patients using a new diagnostic device. Both tested positive for influenza, but, oddly, neither specimen matched the influenza A subtypes that are known to infect humans. This finding raised suspicions, and so the samples were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further tests would reveal that these two patients were the first reported cases of a novel H1N1 influenza virus that would cause a global pandemic in 2009. In many respects, the Navy lab's discovery of H1N1 is a success story for US efforts to boost its biosurveillance capabilities.'"

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Happy Thursday from The Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44387653)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Thursday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44387757)

      -- the town drunk from Blazing Saddles

Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44387777)

Experimental protocol...just happens to find H1N1????

I say bollocks, there is more to this story.

Whoa (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#44387819)

At first I read it as "Brosurveillance" and wasn't sure what the fuck that means.

But now I want to know.

Re:Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44387867)

Biosurveillance, dear queer, is the art of placing sensors across the country for the CDC to detect their malevolent creations to thin the herds a little. They haven't yet got it right, but they will soon. They realize that the "terrorism" buzzword is getting stale and losing its meaning, so muh disease will be the next buzzword to keep the people desperate for big nanny gub'mint to keep them safe.

Mama's gonna make all of your nightmares come true,

Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you,

Mama's gonna keep you right here, under her wing,

she won't let you fly, but she might let you sing

Mama will keep baby cosy and warm

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Whoa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388067)

Disregard that, I suck cocks.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re: Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388723)

I particularly enjoyed the revisionist history mention of a mythical 2009 pandemic :)

Re:Whoa (3, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#44387985)

Made me think the NSA was noting every time I took a dump.

Re:Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388297)

I'm watching you take a dump.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Whoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388461)

I'm watching you watch him take a dump.

Re:Whoa (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388581)

We will start recording your movements the moment you install an IP-enabled toilet.

Camera footage, however, will not be stored indefinitely. We promise.

Re:Whoa (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44391367)

If you install an IP-enabled toilet, you deserve to be monitored.

Not that anyone will want to.

Re:Whoa (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44389229)

brusurveillance is the hanz und gruber method from stasi, hire both brothers as snitches to snitch on each other.

Now the bioweapons conspiranoia(?) begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44387835)

And that is how the bioweapons conspiranoia(?) begins.

Re:Now the bioweapons conspiranoia(?) begins (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388109)

And that is how the bioweapons conspiranoia(?) begins.

Actually, for those who are informed ( sorry, dumbass, but you aren't on the list )
this train left the station years ago.

Google "Biopreparat" if you want to get an idea of what might be out
there. It makes anything relative to nuclear weapons look like a child's


Re:Now the bioweapons conspiranoia(?) begins (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#44390103)

I especially liked the weaponized "Ebolapox", the crossover between Ebola and smallpox.

How ever did they plan to limit the spread of that, once it had gotten out? Vaccination programs that you run in advance can be copied, and if you think you can do it during a war, well, a few bombs here and there would end your ability to protect yourself, leaving you in the same mess as everyone else. Nice as a doomsday weapon, "everybody dies! game over!" but not much for actually winning a war.

More Whitewashing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388273)

I Like all these "US government surveillance is GOOD for you!" articles lately.
Means they really are running scared about all the illegal shit they do. I hope the paycheck for Lasrick ist worth it.

And "Biosurveillance" is a cool newspeak where all the first links on google go to such paragons of virtue as the, and so on

Weird Article (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44388313)

I basically don't get it. The Navy has developed a new test for Influenza that (apparently) doesn't need the typical surface markers that other tests do. Cool. But TFA just drops that and wanders around the US government's attempt at creating a more unified / functional bio-surveillance program but then complains we don't have the money or expertise to do it.

OK. Fine. Another first world Problem.

I'd like to know more about the test. I'm well aware of the Government's inability to organize anything more complex than an egg coloring contest.

Re:Weird Article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44388437)

NIH: National Library of Medicine: May 2012: Clinical Validation of a Point-of-Care Multiplexed In Vitro Immunoassay Using Monoclonal Antibodies (the MSD Influenza Test) in Four Hospitals in Vietnam [] (note this link took about five searches to find, where the "journalists" could have provided some more details and saved me the bother of doing their job). The text confirms it regards the same device mentioned in TFA.


gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44389235)

you know what actually happened, the author went to watch world war Z...

Re:Weird Article (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44390561)

Another first world Problem.

The 2009 flu happened to kill more third world people as a fraction of people infected. Any actual pandemic of considerable lethality would likely do the same. But then maybe caring whether people live or die is a first world problem.

The technical article (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44388771)

Here's the technical article mentioned [] . Open source, peer reviewed, incidentally. The Navy gets a mouth swab from every new recruit (all services), and shipped to a lab for analysis. This is done so they catch contagious diseases early. It also gives the military something it's hard to get today - samples from a sizable healthy population. So they have good baseline data for people who aren't sick, to compare against.

One valuable result of that study is that detection and sequencing of a broad-range of influenza-like viruses may lead to a vaccine that blocks all of them. [] There's now more understanding of what's common to all flu-like viruses.

Re:The technical article (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44390443)

The Spanish flu of 1917 killed more people, young healthy people, than WWI did.
That's why looking for disease is important.
And the Spanish flu started in a barracks in Kansas.They had another outbreak of H7N2 (I think) in a barracks in America that scared the crap out of everyone because it was so infectious but later on, they realized part of the issue was the living situation itself.

I like that 'THEY' are monitoring the health of our species.

Re:The technical article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44395989)

The reality is the Navy lab story was only a portion of what actually happened during the warning sequence. The reality is, while attention was placed on two samples, Mexico was "on fire" with multiple cases. CDC was unable to understand the full scale of the threat without the context of what was happening in Mexico- a context that the Navy lab was unable to provide. No response was executed based solely on the Navy lab information, and therefore, the analogy "focusing on the lichen on the bark of the tree, yet failing to notice the entire forest was on fire" comes into play.

For those of us who monitor the world for pandemics and other unusual infectious disease activity patterns (and provide warning of such events), laboratory results and forensic epidemiological investigations are communicated well after the fact. Proper response posture should not solely be restricted to consideration of such information due to inherent time delays... and indeed, that is precisely what was observed in spring of 2009: hesitation and delayed response.

James M. Wilson V, M.D.
National Infectious Disease Forecast Center
Ascel Bio LLC

The path begins with universal health care (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about a year ago | (#44398763)

and a basic income: []
"Right now, a profit driven health care system has sized emergency rooms for average needs, and those emergency rooms are often full. With a basic income and more money going on a systematic basis to the health care system, the health care system emergency rooms will no longer be overrun with people there for reasons they could see a doctor for. So, emergency care would be better for millionaires. Millionaires with heart attacks won't be as likely to end up being diverted to far away hospitals because the local hospital emergency room is full. Likewise, emergency rooms might, with more money going to medicine, become sized for national emergencies, not personal emergencies, so they might become vast empty places, with physicians and other health care staff keeping their skills sharp always running simulations, learning more medical information, and/or doing basic medical research, with these people always ready for a pandemic or natural disaster or industrial accident which they had the resources in reserve to deal with. So, millionaires who got sick or injured in a disaster could be sure there was the facilities and expertise nearby to help them, even if most of the rest of the population needed help too at the same time too. In that way, some of this basic income could be funded by money that might otherwise go to the Defense department, because what is better civil defense then investing in a health care system able to to handle national disasters? So, any millionaires who are doctors (many are) would benefit by this plan, because their lives as doctors will become happier and less stressful, both with less paperwork and with more resources."

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