U.S. Scientists Devise Systems to Monitor Patient Records for Signs of Bioterrorism

Scientists across the United States are creating “data mining” systems to monitor hospital patient records to detect the first signs of a bioterrorist attack, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 18).

To support that effort, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have prepared the BioWar program to model the infection spread of a bioterror attack involving smallpox, anthrax or five other biological agents, along with potential patterns in people’s reaction to an incident.

“You don’t want to run an actual attack on a city, of course. That would be unethical,” said Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Kathleen Carley, whose team designed the system.

BioWar began as a project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Carley’s team is preparing BioWar for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army and the Marines, according to the Tribune-Review (Mark Houser, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/PittsburghLive.com, Jan. 18).

January 19, 2005
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Scientists across the United States are creating “data mining” systems to monitor hospital patient records to detect the first signs of a bioterrorist attack, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 18).