Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2014 Oct 9;7:177-87. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S56047. eCollection 2014.

The current state of bioterrorist attack surveillance and preparedness in the US.

Author information

1
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Abstract

The use of biological agents as weapons to disrupt established structures, such as governments and especially larger urban populations, has been prevalent throughout history. Following the anthrax letters sent to various government officials in the fall of 2001, the US has been investing in prevention, surveillance, and preparation for a potential bioterrorism attack. Additional funding authorized since 2002 has assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency to invest in preventative research measures as well as preparedness programs, such as the Laboratory Response Network, Hospital Preparedness Program, and BioWatch. With both sentinel monitoring systems and epidemiological surveillance programs in place for metropolitan areas, the immediate threat of a large-scale bioterrorist attack may be limited. However, early detection is a crucial factor to initiate immediate response measures to prevent further spread following dissemination of a biological agent. Especially in rural areas, an interagency approach to train health care workers and raise awareness for the general public remain primary tasks, which is an ongoing challenge. Risk-management approaches in responding to dissemination of biological agents, as well as appropriate decontamination measures that reduce the probability of further contamination, have been provided, and suggest further investments in preparedness and surveillance. Ongoing efforts to improve preparedness and response to a bioterrorist attack are crucial to further reduce morbidity, mortality, and economic impact on public health.

KEYWORDS:

bioterrorism; community preparedness; public health policy; risk management

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dove Medical Press Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center