Monthly Archives: April 2013

Public Health Agency Readiness for Meaningful Use Stage 2

According to the Recommendations, Public Health Agencies are strongly encouraged, though not required, to support Meaningful Use Stage 2 public health objectives. These objectives represent tremendous opportunities for Public Health Agencies to improve their surveillance capabilities. Meaningful Use Stage 2 regulations for public health objectives suggest that Public Health Officials need to perform four new administrative tasks to fully support Meaningful Use Stage 2. These processes are:

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Metagenomics Identifies Organisms in Outbreaks of Serious Infectious Disease

Metagenomics reconstructs the genome sequence through the direct sequencing DNA extracted from microbiologically complex samples. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlights the potential of this approach to identify and characterize bacterial pathogens directly from clinical specimens. For the study, 45 samples were selected from fecal specimens obtained from patients in Germany with diarrhea during the 2011 STEC outbreak, and those samples were submitted to a 3-phase sequencing analysis.

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Manufacturing Airborne Bird Flu

When the two teams announced in 2011 that they had discovered how to make a mutated strain of H5N1 that could spread between people, the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was so alarmed that it took an unprecedented step and attempted to censor publication of the studies. In January 2012, amidst widespread fears that the details of the work could fall into the wrong hands and be used for bioterrorism, both teams of researchers voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend their studies.

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