DHS seeks contractor for biosurveillance program

The Homeland Security Department is advertising for a contractor that can provide a regular data feed on bioterrorism events and emerging disease outbreaks such as swine flu.

The Homeland Security Department is looking for a content aggregator that can put together an electronic data feed for regular updates on biosurveillance events, influenza outbreaks and other health incidents.

The project is being sponsored by the department's Office of Health Affairs’ National Bio-Surveillance Integration Center, which integrates health and disease information from food, agricultural, public health, environmental and intelligence sources. The center provides early warning of global disease outbreaks or possible bioterrorism attacks.

The center intends to contract with a content aggregator service that provides a collated Really Simple Syndication data feed of health incident report information from public sources, according to a solicitation notice posted Sept. 23 on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. The project is called the Biosurveillance Information Source Initiative.

The contractor shall provide a data-mining, analysis and reporting system that can provide near real-time information of worldwide disease events and disease threats based on verified information not available via a general Web search on search engines such as Google.

Proposals are due by Oct. 7.

The need for more effective biosurveillance to protect against terrorism has been a topic of interest to the House Homeland Security Committee. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) last year called for more attention to biosurveillance detection systems and planning.