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Chapter 14 : The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents

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Abstract:

The recognition of and response to actual terrorist use of an infectious agent are complicated. In contrast to chemical agents or explosive devices, whose destructive impacts are immediately recognizable, covert delivery of biological agents in the absence of notification of intent would cause disease only after an incubation period during which exposed persons could be widely dispersed. Immunohistochemical staining of autopsy tissues confirmed the existence of a previously unrecognized hantavirus approximately 1 month after the initial recognition of cases of the syndrome, but several months elapsed before the virus was finally isolated in cell culture. This experience highlights the critical importance of highly trained field and laboratory personnel, appropriate biocontainment facilities, and the laboratory reagents and sophisticated molecular techniques, all of which must be available for the detection of candidate agents that terrorists might use. The potential for bioterrorism emphasizes the urgency of strengthening the public health capacity to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases, particularly the need to forge and strengthen partnerships between the public health and emergency response sectors. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains expertise in the detection of virtually all infectious agents pathogenic for humans and is able to use modem molecular techniques, traditional procedures for organism cultivation. Whether epidemics are the result of terrorism or natural factors, CDC and the public health community remain at the forefront of the global epidemic response.

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14

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Fiscal year 1999 CDC bioterrorism funding. M, millions.

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14
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Tables

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Table 1

Bioterrorism threats

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14
Generic image for table
Table 2

Selected illnesses that may result from bioterrorism

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14
Generic image for table
Table 3

Naturally occurring infectious disease outbreaks that could have been mistaken for bioterrorism

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14
Generic image for table
Table 4

CDC's collaborative role in combating bioterrorism

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14
Generic image for table
Table 5

Goals of Presidential Decision Directive 62

Citation: LeDuc J, Ostroff S, McDade J, Lillibridge S, Hughes J. 1999. The Role of the Public Health Community in Detecting and Responding to Domestic Terrorism Involving Infectious Agents, p 219-230. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 3. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818418.ch14

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