NEWS SCAN: Mumps in New York, DHS cites disease surveillance tool

Apr 7, 2010

College reports mumps outbreak
The State University of New York's Plattsburgh campus in upstate New York is reporting a mumps outbreak, with nine confirmed cases so far and test results on six other possible cases pending, according to a statement from the school. The outbreak triggered strict new guidelines from the New York State Department of Health to limit further spread, including exclusions from campus for most unvaccinated students and those who can't show they are immune to the disease. In other developments, health officials in Allentown, Pa., have confirmed mumps in a local child, but it's not clear if the case is related to three other cases in the southwestern part of the state that have links to a national outbreak affecting mainly Hasidic Jewish groups from New York and New Jersey, the Allentown Morning Call reported on Apr 2. Allentown is in eastern Pennsylvania. A post about the campus outbreak and the child's illness from ProMED-mail, the Internet-based reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, noted that they appear to be sporadic outbreaks that aren't connected to the major outbreak.
Mar 31 State University of New York Plattsburgh statement
Apr 2 Allentown Morning Call story
Apr 6 ProMed-mail post

Academic center wins DHS recognition for disease tracking tool
An online "information dashboard" developed by the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD) to help federal officials manage the H1N1 flu pandemic has earned the group the US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) 2010 Science and Technology Impact Award, according to an FAZD announcement. Researchers from FAZD built, tested, and launched the Bio-Surveillance Common Operating Picture in weeks rather than months as originally scheduled. The system allows DHS to track and share information on global disease outbreaks and more quickly respond to US threats. Designed to help decision-makers during crises and disasters, the tool provides users real-time access to multiple Web sites, live data feeds, news feeds, streaming video, maps, images, key documents, and other materials. The FAZD Center, headquartered at Texas A&M University, is a consortium that includes seven universities, 10 other institutions, and five national laboratories. It is a DHS Center of Excellence.

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