Clinical, commercial, and governmental laboratories are an important source of data for biosurveillance systems. Test results obtained from the analysis of human and animal specimens may be early indicators of disease within the population. Before the establishment of a definitive diagnosis, a sudden rise in the number of tests being requested by clinicians might be the first indication of an outbreak. The combination of laboratory data from environmental laboratories and the occurrence of illness in humans or animals might signal onset of an infectious disease or poisoning. The establishment of a LIMS that can rapidly capture and report laboratory data electronically will greatly contribute to the use of laboratory data in biosurveillance. Challenges still exist for integrating 190,000 laboratories into a real-time network to support biosurveillance. The multitude of laboratory networks that are being formed will enhance the analytical capabilities of laboratories as well as the ability of laboratories to distribute peak loads during emergencies and quickly and efficiently share data electronically. Enormous potential exists for the use of data that that is locked up in systems by the lack of standardization. Although much recent emphasis has been focused on building laboratory networks in preparation for a biological, chemical, or nuclear attack, many of the enhanced laboratory capabilities will assist with the response to other public health emergencies.
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This is common knowledge that disaster is everywhere. Its in the streets, its inside your campuses, and it can even be found inside your home. The question is not whether we are safe because no one is really THAT secure anymore but whether we can do something to lessen the odds of ever becoming a victim.