Early warning system for bioterror attacks awarded contract

Officials with Vangent Inc. announced recently they have been awarded a $2.4 million contract over nine months to develop an early warning system that could be used in the event of a bioterrorist attack.

Block 3 of the Electronic System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, or ESSENCE, will be used by the Defense Health Services Systems Programs office in support of the Military Health System.

Mac Curtis, Vangent's president and CEO, said he was excited about the contract.

“The Military Health System is continually monitoring, capturing, and analyzing huge amounts of data to calculate expected rates of infectious disease outbreaks with the end goal of containing emerging events and preventing full-blown epidemics,” Curtis said. “Timely, accurate information can be everything when public health is on the line, and Vangent is proud to lend its technical expertise and work hand-in-hand with the Military Health System on this critical medical surveillance project.”

Essence is an Internet-based monitoring system that tracks and alerts cases of rapid or unusual increases in the occurrence of infectious diseases and biological outbreaks. ESSENCE will collect data from approximately 90,000 outpatient and emergency department visits in Department of Defense healthcare facilities worldwide.

Block 3 will analyze complaint and lab results data, provide breakout data for inpatient and outpatient populations. It will also monitor the complete list of disease and injury data received from military treatment facilities to identify abnormal rates of syndromic-specific events, reportable medical events and disease and injury events.