Summary

Economics has and will continue to play a significant role in biosurveillance. Economic studies can provide insight about some of the most challenging decisions related to biosurveillance, including what level of investment is justified by the threat, how best to invest available resources, and how to react to anomalies in surveillance data. The available methods of economic study include cost-of-illness, cost-of-intervention, and a set of techniques, such as CBA, that allow decision makers to explore the ever present tradeoff between cost and benefit in a world in which resources are finite. Although the field of economics is well developed in many areas, the economic study of biosurveillance is still in its early stages. Analysts have applied the existing set of techniques to but a handful of important problems. It is likely that this domain, as have many domains to which economics has been applied, will require the development of additional methods. There remain a large number of pressing problems, especially in the area of bioterrorism preparedness, still to be explored.

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