WHITEPAPERS: Army War College , ASM (American Society for Microbiology), CATO Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, Center for Counterproliferation Research, Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, CRS (Report for Congress), GAO (General Accounting Office), Institute for National Strategic Studies, Institute for Science and Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University, National Academy Of Engineering, National Defence University, PERI (Public Entity Risk Institute), RIS (Research & Information System), Terrorism Intelligence Centre, The Federalist Society, UNESCO (United Nations), University of Laussane, and the WMD Center.
Source: GAO (General Accounting Office)
Abstract: Although many aspects of an effective response to bioterrorism are the same as those for any form of terrorism, there are some unique features. For example, if a biological agent is released covertly, it may not be recognized for a week or more because symptoms may not appear for several days after the initial exposure and may be misdiagnosed at first. In addition, some biological agents, such as smallpox, are communicable and can spread to others who were not initially exposed. These characteristics require responses that are unique to bioterrorism, including health surveillance,6 epidemiologic investigation,7 laboratory identification of biological agents, and distribution of antibiotics to large segments of the population to prevent the spread of an infectious disease. However, some aspects of an effective response to bioterrorism are also important in responding to any type of large-scale disaster, such as providing emergency medical services, continuing health care services delivery, and, potentially, managing mass fatalities.
The burden of responding to bioterrorist incidents falls initially on personnel in state and local emergency response agencies. These “first responders” include firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, law enforcement officers, public health officials, health care workers (including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals), and public works personnel. If the emergency requires federal disaster assistance, federal departments and agencies will respond according to responsibilities outlined in the Federal Response Plan. Under the Federal Response Plan, CDC is the lead Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency providing assistance to state and local governments for five functions: (1) health surveillance, (2) worker health and safety, (3) radiological, chemical, and biological hazard consultation, (4) public health information, and (5) vector control (GAO, 2001).