The Bioterrorism Surveillance (BTS) System was originally designed for centralized reporting of syndromic data to DHSS. This information was used for follow up at the state level and was shared with local public health agencies for their own information and decision making. The number of facilities reporting to this system has decreased steadily since the Hospital Electronic Syndromic Surveillance reporting rule was enacted in 2004, which required many participating facilities to send electronic data for the ESSENCE system.
We encourage current or prospective reporting facilities to contact their local public health agency to inquire about sentinel surveillance in their area. Although DHSS no longer uses the BTS or data reported on its forms, the information is still provided here to stress the importance of sentinel surveillance at the local level.