Preemptive biopreparedness: can we learn anything from history?
The treat of bioterrorism is in the public eye again, and major public health agencies are urging preparedness efforts and special federal funding. In a sense, we have seen this all before. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grew substantially during the Cold War era in large part because Alexander Langmuir, Chief Epidemiologist of the CDC, used an earlier generation's anxieties to revitalize the CDC, create an Epidemic Intelligence Service, and promote epidemiologic "surveillance" as part of the nation's defense. Retrospective investigation suggests that, while Langmuir contributed to efforts promoted by the Department of Defense and the Federal Civil Defense Administration, the United States did not have real cause to fear Communist biological warfare aggression. Given clear historical parallels, it is appropriate to ask, What was gained and what was lost by Langmuir's central role in that first instance of American biopreparedness? Among the conclusions drawn is that biopreparedness efforts fed the Cold War climate, narrowed the scope of public health activities, and failed to achieve sustained benefits for public health programs across the country. (+info)
The World Trade Center attack. Lessons for all aspects of health care.
The attack on the World Trade Center had the potential to overwhelm New York's health services. Sadly, however, the predicted thousands of treatable patients failed to materialize. Horror and sadness has now been replaced by anger, fear, and the determination to be better prepared next time. This determination not only exists in politics but also in health care, and as with all attempts to enforce change there needs to be a period of collecting opinions and data. This article introduces nine reviews in Critical Care offering varied health care perspectives of the events of 11 September 2001 from people who were there and from experts in disaster management. (+info)
The World Trade Center attack. The paramedic response: an insider's view.
The World Trade Center attack and collapse is the first time an aircraft has been used as a weapon of mass effect. The scale and magnitude of this manmade disaster can only be compared with a natural catastrophe such as the Armenian earthquake of December 1988. The importance of an incident command system and the Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment, and the need for fixed Casualty Collection Points, is explained. (+info)
The World Trade Center attack. Lessons for disaster management.
As the largest, and one of the most eclectic, urban center in the United States, New York City felt the need to develop an Office of Emergency Management to coordinate communications and direct resources in the event of a mass disaster. Practice drills were then carried out to assess and improve disaster preparedness. The day of 11 September 2001 began with the unimaginable. As events unfolded, previous plans based on drills were found not to address the unique issues faced and new plans rapidly evolved out of necessity. Heroic actions were commonplace. Much can be learned from the events of 11 September 2001. Natural and unnatural disasters will happen again, so it is critical that these lessons be learned. Proper preparation will undoubtedly save lives and resources. (+info)
Bioterrorism and the people: how to vaccinate a city against panic.
Bioterrorism policy discussions and response planning efforts have tended to discount the capacity of the public to participate in the response to an act of bioterrorism, or they have assumed that local populations would impede an effective response. Fears of mass panic and social disorder underlie this bias. Although it is not known how the population will react to an unprecedented act of bioterrorism, experience with natural and technological disasters and disease outbreaks indicates a pattern of generally effective and adaptive collective action. Failure to involve the public as a key partner in the medical and public-health response could hamper effective management of an epidemic and increase the likelihood of social disruption. Ultimately, actions taken by nonprofessional individuals and groups could have the greatest influence on the outcome of a bioterrorism event. Five guidelines for integrating the public into bioterrorism response planning are proposed: (1) treat the public as a capable ally in the response to an epidemic, (2) enlist civic organizations in practical public health activities, (3) anticipate the need for home-based patient care and infection control, (4) invest in public outreach and communication strategies, and (5) ensure that planning reflects the values and priorities of affected populations. (+info)
CDC's strategic plan for bioterrorism preparedness and response.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has played a critical lead role over the past two years in fostering activities associated with the medical and public health response to bioterrorism. Based on a charge from Secretary Donna Shalala in 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading public health efforts to strengthen the nation's capacity to detect and respond to a bioterrorist event. As a result of our efforts, federal, state, and local communities are improving their public health capacities to respond to these types of emergencies. For many of us in public health, developing plans and capacities to respond to acts of bioterrorism is an extension of our long-standing roles and responsibilities. These are stated in the CDC Mission Statement: to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability, and the Bioterrorism Mission: to lead the public health effort in enhancing readiness to detect and respond to bioterrorism. CDC's infectious diseases control efforts are summarized below: --Initially formed to address malaria control in 1946; --Established the epidemic Intelligence Service in 1951; --Participated in global smallpox eradication and other immunization programs; --Estimated 800-1,000 + field investigations/year since late 1990s; --New diseases: Legionnaire's Disease, toxic shock syndrome, Lyme disease, HIV, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, West Nile, etc. -- Today: focus on emerging infections and bioterrorism. Over the past 50 years, CDC has seen a decline in the incidence of some infectious diseases and an increase in some, whereas others continue to present on a more unpredictable basis (i.e., hantavirus). Outbreak identification, investigation, and control have been an integral part of what we do for more than 50 years. We estimate that 800 to 1,000 field investigations have occurred every year since the late 1990s. Today, however, we have a new focus on emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism. (+info)
Public health and national security: the critical role of increased federal support.
Protecting the public's health historically has been a state and local responsibility. However, the growing threat of bioterrorism has highlighted the importance of a strong public health infrastructure to the nation's homeland security and has focused increased attention on the preparedness of the public health system. As a result, federal public health funding has increased exponentially since the anthrax attacks of late 2001, and Congress has passed sweeping new federal legislation intended to strengthen the nation's public health system. This heightened level of federal interest and support should yield important public health benefits. Most recognize that after years of neglect the public health infrastructure cannot be rebuilt overnight. As we implement a comprehensive strategy to increase the capabilities and capacity of our nation's public health system, it is essential to address a series of important policy questions, including the appropriate level of ongoing public health investments from local, state, and federal sources. (+info)
National Pharmaceutical Stockpile drill analysis using XML data collection on wireless Java phones.
This study describes an informatics effort to track subjects through a National Pharmaceutical Stockpile (NPS) distribution drill. The drill took place in Seattle on 1/24/2002. Washington and the State Department of Health are among the first in the nation to stage a NPS drill testing the distribution of medications to mock patients, thereby testing the treatment capacity of the plan given a post-anthrax exposure scenario. The goal of the Public Health Informatics Group at the University of Washington (www.phig.washington.edu) was to use informatics approaches to monitor subject numbers and elapsed time. This study compares accuracy of time measurements using a mobile phone Java application to traditional paper recording in a live drill of the NPS. Pearson correlation = 1.0 in 2 of 3 stations. Differences in last station measurements can be explained by delay in recording of the exit time. We discuss development of the application itself and lessons learned. (MeSH Bioterrorism, Informatics, Public Health) (+info)