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Capitol Health Call
February 10, 2010

Surveillance Efforts Lacking

JAMA. 2010;303(6):499. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.76

Barriers to collaboration between federal agencies are hampering an effort designed to detect and respond to biological agents intended for use as bioweapons and to potentially catastrophic emerging infectious diseases, said the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS’s) National Biosurveillance Integration Center is supposed to integrate and analyze information from surveillance systems across the federal government and disseminate alerts if any biological events are detected. But the GAO said in its December 18 report (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10171.pdf ) that the center does not receive the kind of critical data needed to support its early detection mission and that it faces challenges in leveraging the expertise of its federal partners. The GAO report was delivered to leaders of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Homeland Security.

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