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Bioterrorist Attack In The United Sates

2166 words - 9 pages

Biological warfare is a topic that many people tend to sweep under the rug and ignore. Shortly following the infamous 9/11 attacks, anthrax claimed five lives around the nation, but people do not live in fear of bioterrorism. The probability of another terrorist attack before the end of 2013, as explained by Mark d’Agostino and Greg Martin in “The Bioscience Revolution,” is high and most likely to come in the form of bioterrorism due to its relatively low production cost and availability (1). Due to the likelihood of such an attack, the need for good biodefense mechanisms is apparent. Luckily, while most average citizens have spent their time ignoring this threat, the United States government has been avidly preparing biodefense protocols at the federal and state levels. These procedures are often thorough, but rely on the abilities of hospitals and physicians, which is where the problem truly lies. This problem can be seen when analyzing the protocols in hospitals and physicians abilities to diagnose and treat bioterrorist agents. Because of this, the government’s detailed protocols can be rendered useless and the nation lacks several essential tools to deal with a bioterrorist attack. In order to protect the nation in case of a bioterrorist attack, changes are needed to better hospital procedures and to educate physicians on the diagnosis and treatment of harmful biological weapons. These changes are most likely to be made through the redirection of the funds that are already used for biodefense. If these changes are not made, however, the United States and all its citizens could suffer in a bioterrorist attack.
Bioterrorism first became important in national protocol in the early 2000s. The beginnings of CDC bioterrorism protocol began in April 2000, as described in “Biological and Chemical Terrorism: Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response.” The plan outlined in the protocol would focus on five main areas of concern: preparedness and prevention, detection and surveillance, diagnosis, response, and communication. These five areas of focus were correctly identified as key points, but the CDC only used their protocol as job descriptions to smaller agencies. These descriptions were simply vague phrases such as “enhance epidemiologic capacity to detect and respond to biological attack” without explaining how to do so. This lack of specificity became troublesome in October 2001 when, according to the article “Recognition Of Community-Acquired Anthrax: Has Anything Changed Since 2001?,” there were 22 cases of anthrax caused by bioterrorism. These attacks caused a brief national panic and a public outcry for better government protection, thereby demonstrating the need for protocol reform.
Because of the panic caused by the 2001 bioterrorist attacks, federal protocol was quickly revised and now provides detailed descriptions of what needs to be done in case of an attack. The job descriptions in CDC protocol now provide a basic course of...

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