The focus of the Bioterrorism Surveillance Program is to build surveillance detection capacity as part of public health preparedness. The BT surveillance program oversees several systems aimed at strengthening detection and early recognition of illness. New Hampshire's early event detection and preparedness efforts rely upon special expertise in biological agents such as anthrax, botulism, smallpox etc. that this program can provide.
The Bioterrorism Surveillance program oversees the use of several systems. These systems rely on monitoring patterns of symptoms such as fevers, and rash that are associated with illness. Symptoms are organized together and referred to as syndromes. By monitoring syndromes, it is possible to recognize subtle changes in health across the state, and identify places where the number of people experiencing a set of symptom is different from normal. These Bioterrorism Surveillance systems may serve as a safety net to help identify clusters of disease or illness that may not be detected through traditional surveillance activities. The goal of Bioterrorism Surveillance is to detect the presence of communicable diseases in the community when the first symptoms appear.
NH Surveillance Systems
- Automated Hospital Emergency Department Data Surveillance (AHEDD): AHEDD provides a unique way of monitoring symptoms among people who visit hospital emergency departments. This system was developed by both the Bioterrorism Surveillance Program and Health Statistics and Data Management Section.
- Veterinary Surveillance: In partnership with the State Veterinarian, animal diseases that can spread to people are monitored.
- Death Certificate Surveillance: Death certificate surveillance reviews deaths for suspicious or unusual causes and was the first automated death surveillance system to be implemented in the US to be used for BT surveillance.
- Syndrome Tracking and Encounter Management System (STEMS): STEMS captures and analyzes several different kinds of syndromic information. This system was developed by New Hampshire's Bioterrorism Surveillance Program and was one of the first systems of its kind to be implemented in the US
- Over-the-Counter Pharmaceutical (OTC) Sales Surveillance: STEMS OTC monitors the sales of over-the-counter medications such as cold and cough medicines at many pharmacies whose information cannot be monitored through the National OTC Surveillance system referenced below.
- NH School Absenteeism Reporting: Tracks and records total absenteeism and specifically absenteeism for influenza-like illness (ILI) for all schools in the State of New Hampshire.