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A grid approach to pandemic disease control
Date:6/15/2011

An evaluation of the Public Health Grid (PHGrid) technology during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic could enhance the capabilities of epidemiologists and disease-control agencies when the next emergent disease appears, according to a study published in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing.

Terry Boyd and colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia, working with informatics specialists at Deloitte Consulting LLP, explain how historically, public health surveillance systems in the USA were designed to register information about specific public health issues among certain population groups and to answer particular questions about the spread of disease and the risks to those groups. Unfortunately, this approach to data collection and handling can limit the ability of public health professionals to use existing systems to investigate the emergence of novel threats from pathogens such as new influenza viruses.

During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, however, the Public Health Informatics and Technology Program Office at the CDC together with various partners used simulated data to explore how a decentralized information architecture run on the Public Health Grid (PHGrid) might be used to acquire relevant data quickly, securely and to effectively model the spread of disease. The main advantage of building the system on the PHGrid is that it allows for disparate, distributed data and services to be used by the public health community and so avoids the obstacles seen with repurposing specialized surveillance systems.

"The speed with which public health officials can identify, respond, and deploy interventions in response to public health events has the potential to change the course or impact of a disease," the team explains. The PHGrid framework could be used to address specific surveillance needs such as those related to novel pandemic influenza in 2009. By using advances made by the
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Contact: Terry Boyd
tboyd@cdc.gov
770-488-8575
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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