What is Bioterrorism?

Bioterrorism can be defined as "the use of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins) to intentionally produce disease in a group of people to meet terrorists aims."

What are Some of the Bioterrorism Threat Diseases?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed a group of diseases that are of "highest concern" because they cause high mortality, cause public panic and fear; require special action for public health preparedness and, in certain cases, can be spread person-to-person.  This "Category A" list includes the biological agents that cause anthrax, pneumonic plague, smallpox, botulism, tularemia, and the viral hemorrhagic fevers.  Anthrax, botulism, and tularemia are not contagious and do not pass from person-to-person.  These diseases can also occur naturally.

What is Public Health's Responsibility Related to Bioterrorism?

Public Health has a critically important role in Bioterrorism preparedness and response that includes surveillance and early detection, laboratory support, communicable disease control and preventive measures.  We have existing systems for identification and investigation of disease outbreaks that could be the first indication of a biological attack.  Public Health is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of Tuscola County residents.  We place the most emphasis on efforts that provide long-term protection.

Is Public Health Prepared to Respond to Bioterrorism?

Public Health has expanded our established emergency/disaster response plan to include required response actions for a bioterrorism event.  We conduct exercises and train staff and plan to conduct bioterrorism drills in the future.  Further, Public Health works with multiple agencies such as law enforcement, the medical community, fire departments, Office of Emergency Management Services, EMS, and other city, county, and state officials to ensure readiness and coordinate any response.