Local Health Officer Is Informed of a Bioterrorist Incident or Threat
Local Health Officer determines that a bioterrorist incident or threat is confirmed or probable. If a public health official in a local or state health department is called about, or otherwise becomes aware of, apparent incidents or threats of bioterrorism (BT), they should contact the FBI and local public safety and law enforcement partners immediately. It is critical that the FBI be notified, since it is the designated use agency for managing the overall response to BT incidents. The public health sector has important responsibilities related to BT detection, response, and control of health consequences, but the public health response will be most effective if the overall response by all sectors—pre-hospital and hospital care, law enforcement, public safety, etc.—is coordinated by the FBI.
Specifically, the FBI must be notified for:
- one or more cases, definitively diagnosed with one or more of the
- Any case of smallpox or pulmonary anthrax (such a disease in even one case would strongly indicate the likelihood of BT).
- Uncommon agent or disease (e.g., Burkholderia mallei or pseudomallei, smallpox, pulmonary anthrax) occurring in a person with no other explanation.
- An illness caused by a microorganism with markedly atypical features (e.g., features suggesting that the microorganism was genetically altered)
- An illness due to aerosol or food or water sabotage, as opposed to a usual transmission route.
- one or more clusters of illnesses (as described below) that remain unexplained after a preliminary investigation;
- deliberate chemical, industrial, radiation or nuclear release.
After ensuring that federal law enforcement officials are notified, local health officials should immediately notify officials at the State Health Department. Close coordination between local and state public health professionals will be necessary in the event of actual or threatened instances of BT.
- Page last updated February 1, 2001
- Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)