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

Authors Grundmann O

Received 10 June 2014

Accepted for publication 11 August 2014

Published 9 October 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 177—187

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S56047

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Video abstract presented by Oliver Grundmann.

Views: 912

Oliver Grundmann

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, public health policy, risk management, community preparedness

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