Pathogens are a determining factor in emergency response due to their life-threatening nature, both for the public as well as for the safety of first responders. In many cases, pathogen contaminations are difficult to detect, and require specialized technologies, tools and procedures to handle them. Waterborne pathogen contamination events can occur anywhere, and may be caused by various natural events or they can be the result of human activity, either accidental or malicious. During these emergencies, first responders may need to operate within a certain pre-defined incident area, and are likely to be exposed to contaminated water originating from various sources, such as surface water, wastewater or drinking water. This can pose a significant risk of illness, disease or even death, through skin contact, ingestion or inhalation.
The overall objective of the PathoCERT project is to strengthen the coordination capability of the first responders in handling waterborne pathogen contamination events, allowing the rapid and accurate detection of pathogens, improving their situational awareness and their ability to control and mitigate emergency situations involving waterborne pathogens. To achieve this objective, the project will research and demonstrate Pathogen Contamination Emergency Response Technologies (PathoCERT), a collection of novel, cost-effective and easy-to-use technologies, tools and guidelines, which will be field-validated by the first responders.
CERTH is responsible for the management of scientific and technical aspects of the PathoCERT project and for the monitoring and assessment of the risks of the project. Also, has a critical role in the project by leading a WP relative to the contamination situation awareness and tasks that involve the first responders. The developed solutions cover the social media collection and analysis to detect pathogen-related events, integration, visual analysis on satellite data for pathogen detection and pilot field exercises.