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DHS enhances social media bio-surveillance

Nov. 8, 2012 at 10:05 AM

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. government's capability to monitor public health trends and unusual occurrences through social media analytics is set for enhancement.

Accenture Federal Services said it received a one-year, $3 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist in the Office of Health Affairs to manage, link and analyze data from social media networks in real time to protect the public in the event of a national health emergency.

Accenture said it will create a pilot program that uses data from social networking and social media sites to help predict, mitigate or respond to potential health crises such as an outbreak of infectious disease or a biological incident.

"Social media platforms are now an everyday part of peoples' lives, finding their way into all forms of communication," said John Matchette, who leads Accenture's Public Safety agency work.

"Rapidly collecting and understanding what information is being shared will help OHA meet its mission to detect and respond to potential threats to national health security."

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