Bioterrorism Preparedness

 

Bioterrorism is defined as the use of biological agents, such as diseases or agricultural pests, for terrorist purposes.  Although the risk of a terrorist attack on Adams County itself is small, a release of a disease can have a widespread affect throughout our region.

 

In its goal to prevent the spread of disease, the Adams County Health Department Division of Health Protection plays an active role in preparing for the possibility of a bioterrorism incident that would affect Adams County.

 

Through constant monitoring of communicable illnesses as they occur in our area, we are able to detect unusual patterns of disease outbreak and transmission.  Through investigation of these outbreaks, we are frequently able to trace the source of the disease and prevent its further spread.  We also track reports of food borne illness to detect and stop the spread of disease from contaminated food.  In the event of a bioterrorist release anywhere in the U.S., local, state and federal health agencies would work as a team to ensure that the occurrence of the disease is kept to a minimum.

 

An act of terrorism (or a large-scale natural disaster) targeting the U.S. civilian population will require rapid access to large quantities of medicines and medical supplies.  Such quantities may not be readily available on a local level, and the supplies that are available will be depleted quickly.  Throughout the U.S., there are strategically placed stores of antibiotics and medications that could be used to treat a disease outbreak.  These medications can be shipped to areas of an outbreak within 12 hours of their request.

  Long before an emergency occurs, local officials make plans to respond to intentional or natural disasters.  The Adams County Health Department has performed an essential role in this planning when it comes to the health of our citizens.  If a large number of people in our community were to become ill with a specific disease, we will need to act rapidly to protect our residents.  The goal is to be able to treat large numbers of people in a short period of time.  ACHD has developed a plan for the receipt and distribution of stockpiled medications.  This plan is under constant revision to keep it up to date with our changing population.  Although most of the information in the plan is not available to the public, you can visit the following websites for further details:

Illinois Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

For more information on emergency preparedness at the Adams County Health Department, call (217) 222-8440, Ext 148.

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