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BioTerrorism Update
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Terrorism-related activities have occurred in the United States for the past three decades and have been responded to through FBI investigations. Until recently terrorist acts have been characterized as domestic terrorism. With the September 11, 2001 events, our nation has been concerned with international plots of terrorism more than ever before. The weapon of choice for assaulting the United States may now be terrorist attacks that result in mass casualties.

Since the tragic events of September 11th the safety of our nation has been the concern of many public officials and citizens as a whole. The National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of City and County Health Officers, and National Association of Attorney Generals has been working on "The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act" to help facilitate a coordinated comprehensive plan to protect the citizens of our nation.

On the local level, our Health Department has been working with the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), St. Mary's/Good Samaritan Hospital, Litton Ambulance Service, Sheriffs Department, Red Cross and the Fire Department to update emergency plans so we can effectively respond to any emergency in a coordinated fashion.

With a bioterrorist attack in our community the local Health Department would be considered a "first responder". As a first responder we would continue to: "monitor health status to identify community health problems; diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community; inform, educate, and empower people about health issues; mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems; develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts; enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety; link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable; assure a competent public health and personal healthcare workforce; evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services; and research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems". Our health department continues to prepare to protect the health of our community from any senseless attacks of terrorism and will continue to work with the many different organizations to rebuild on a solid foundation the security that was destroyed on September 11th.