U.S. Border States Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS Project):
Starting in Fiscal Year 2003, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the U.S. Border State Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance (EWIDS) Project to enhance the ability of Border States and border jurisdictions (including tribes) straddling the borders to rapidly detect infectious disease outbreaks along the border. The U.S. Border States EWIDS Project is designed to build the capacity of public health systems of all 20 U.S. Border States (including Alaska), to establish or improve their cross-border early warning of infectious diseases, either naturally occurring, or of a bioterrorist nature. Under this unique collaboration with HHS-CDC, Border States that receive EWIDS funding submit project proposals designed to improve the ability to rapidly detect, identify, and report outbreaks of infectious disease associated with potential bio-terror agents or other major threats to public health along the border. These proposals include projects that improve surveillance, epidemiological investigation, laboratory diagnostics, and/or health alert messaging capacities and capabilities, and have included workforce development and training.
Early Warning Infectious Disease Surveillance in México (EWIDS-México Project):
Since Fiscal Year 2006, a special companion project along the U.S.-México border region, the EWIDS- México Project, has been designed with similar goals and objectives to assist the six Mexican Border States and México’s Federal Secretariat of Health in strengthening the same capacities and capabilities along México’s northern border. In addition to the investments being made in México’s six northern Border States, this project is attempting to improve the laboratory capacity of the México’s national laboratory of diagnostic and epidemiological reference in México City, along with the functional capabilities of its national network of laboratories. The responsibility for managing this project was transferred from HHS-OGHA to HHS-ASPR in the summer of 2008.
Overarching Strategy of the U.S. Border States EWIDS and EWIDS- México Projects:
The ultimate goal of both EWIDS projects is to develop and improve border-wide and state-to-state and state-to-province mechanisms that will achieve effective cross-border exchange of surveillance findings among neighboring border jurisdictions and the three Federal governments.
Specific program goals and objectives include:
• To develop and implement a cross-border, interoperable, disease tracking system designed to rapidly detect illness resulting from exposure to a bioterrorist threat agent or other emerging infectious disease of urgent public health consequence;
• To enable trans-border capabilities for detection, identification, reporting, and launching of cross-border investigations for infectious disease outbreaks;
• To share clinical, laboratory and epidemiological information electronically with public health officials in neighboring jurisdictions; and
• To train public health personnel in surveillance and epidemiology-related activities.