From The Japan Times Online:
"A national center for infectious disease surveillance has begun building a system aimed at detecting early signs of bioterrorism and new types of influenza based on factors that include a slight increase in the number of emergency patients, center officials said Monday.
The Infectious Disease Surveillance Center at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo is working on the surveillance system so that prompt countermeasures can be taken to prevent the spread of infections, the officials said.
Under the planned system, the center will continuously collect and analyze data of people seeking medical attention and determine that an abnormal situation has arisen in the event there are 10 or more patients in a certain region complaining of symptoms such as fever, convulsions or vomiting.
It will then dispatch a medical team to the affected region for diagnoses, decontamination and to prevent the spread of infection, the officials said.
The system would make it possible to deal with the situation several days sooner than the current state in which action is taken only after there are multiple cases of severely ill patients, they said."------------------------------
Am I the only one shocked that such a system was not already in place? Does the US have such a system? It seems like the data they are just starting to analyze should have always been considered essential information.