Syndromic surveillance and bioterrorism: embracing the network‐centric warfare paradigm

A.J. Masys (University of Leicester, Leicester, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Publication date: 1 December 2004


Military operations today more than ever are carried out by large coalitions, usually distributed between several organisations and often separated by substantial temporal and spatial scales. To facilitate such military operations, network‐centric warfare is often cited as the panacea of command and control, possessing the characteristics of elevated speed of command, high levels of self‐synchronisation and shared situational awareness. A nation's ability to respond to infectious diseases resulting from an act of bioterrorism or naturally occurring pathogens depends on a framework that supports operations by a large number of distributed organisations facing inherent temporal and spatial challenges. The effects of infectious diseases, whether intentionally inflicted or naturally occurring, can threaten a nation's security. Syndromic surveillance is a detection methodology that encompasses systematic collection, analysis, interpretation and application of real‐time indicators for disease and outbreaks. This paper introduces the NCW paradigm and highlights the inherent characteristics that would facilitate syndromic surveillance in support of an expedient public health response in the event of a bioterrorist attack.



Masys, A. (2004), "Syndromic surveillance and bioterrorism: embracing the network‐centric warfare paradigm", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 351-355.

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