Enhancing the BioSense Platform: Findings from an ESSENCE and SAS Pilot Project


BioSense was launched in 2003 by CDC with its primary aim to establish an integrated system of nationwide public health surveillance for the early detection and prompt assessment of potential bioterrorism-related syndromes or other public health emergencies. With the release of CDC’s Surveillance Strategy, BioSense evolved into the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). To overcome the challenges experienced throughout the integration of local and state level data to produce a real-time national all-hazards surveillance, CDC sought input from the National Syndromic Surveillance Community of Practice (NSSP CoP). They requested that CDC provide advanced syndromic surveillance functionalities and analytical applications, such as ESSENCE and SAS to improve the BioSense Platform. In response, CDC led this pilot project to: 1) conduct security testing of SAS and ESSENCE in order to identify vulnerabilities; 2) test and improve a limited set of processes that occur before data are transformed; and 3) conduct testing of ESSENCE’s functions to ensure the tool worked as intended, and that it will meet user needs.


To describe the results of a pilot project that examined selected BioSense 2.0 data processing rules and tested SAS and ESSENCE products in the BioSense platform.

Primary Topic Areas: 
Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2015

August 29, 2017

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National Syndromic
Surveillance Program


The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is a collaboration among states and public health jurisdictions that contribute data to the BioSense Platform, public health practitioners who use local syndromic surveillance systems, Center for Disease Control and Prevention programs, other federal agencies, partner organizations, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and academic institutions.

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