Aug 5, 2007
Responding to agricultural bioterrorism with pathogenic agents that are communicable from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) requires effective coordination of many organizations, both inside and outside of government. Action must be simultaneously taken to address public health concerns, respond to the agricultural dimensions of the event, and carry out the necessary law enforcement investigation. As part of a project focused on examining public health preparedness in Georgia, an exercise was carried out in July 2005 examining the intentional introduction of avian influenza (H5N1) in commercial poultry operations. The attack scenario, which was written to occur during an already severe human influenza season, enabled exploration of a range of issues associated with public health preparedness for major disease outbreaks including pandemic influenza, coordination of a multiagency response operation at multiple levels of government, and effective management of interdisciplinary response activities. The exercise is described and broader policy lessons regarding preparedness planning are discussed.
Reprinted with permission from Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2006, pp. 287-292. Copyright © 2006 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.