Portsmouth firm helps track avian flu


Global Relief Technologies of Portsmouth has been retained by the Department of Defense to help track the occurrence of avian flu in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim. Under a $3.5 million contract, GRT will provide Marine Corps field crews working in the region with technology that will enable them to gather information about the occurrence of avian flu and relay the information in real time via satellite to GRT headquarters, where it will analyzed by mission-specific GRT software. It can be accessed by decision makers at organizations like the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Before this partnership, field crews were literally collecting data with pencils and paper, and then calling in their results over the phone,” said GRT CEO Michael Gray. “This method took so long that the situation was changing faster than the data could be analyzed.” With the GRT technologies in place, some 14 five-man teams, composed of expeditionary Marine forces, will be on the ground collecting all data relevant to the spread of the bird flu. The information will range from the number of birds found dead to how and where the flu is spread in humans. - JEFF FEINGOLD