| April 22, 2004|
For Immediate Release
National Capital Region Launches Area Disease Reporting Network
Representatives from the National Capital Region — including the District of Columbia and counties in the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia — met today at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., to kick off the NCR Disease Surveillance Network project. The kickoff meeting brought together senior health and homeland security leaders, identified various roles, and introduced key researchers and members of the Steering Committee.
The project's goal is to establish a regional surveillance network for the early detection and notification of abnormal disease events that could cause high morbidity and mortality in DC, Maryland and Virginia populations. To do this, the system collects data containing health indicators, performs analysis, and notifies users when statistical anomalies occur.
The network will establish independent surveillance nodes — operation centers — in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, with a central regional integration node operated by APL in Laurel, Md., for performing surveillance across jurisdictional boundaries. Operating 365 days a year, these nodes will provide information to local public health departments. Jurisdictions have been meeting to determine how data, that has had personal information removed, will be shared across jurisdictional boundaries.
The network will be assembled from technology developed by APL in collaboration with DoD's Global Emerging Infectious System under the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE)-NCR test bed which has been operating as a pilot since the fall of 2001.
Project goals include:
"Establishing this network is a crucial step toward insuring the safety of citizens living in the National Capital Region," says APL's Joe Lombardo, who led development of the ESSENCE system.
The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.