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Nicholas S. Kelley

and Michael T. Osterholm

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date: 05 July 2022

History shows us that individuals have used and likely will continue to use biological agents for terrorism purposes. Bioterrorism agents can be easily disseminated, cause severe disease and high mortality rates if cases are not treated properly, and pose significant challenges for management and response. A robust public health surveillance system that includes laboratory (including routine reportable disease surveillance), syndromic, and environmental surveillance is crucial for detection of the release of a bioterrorism agent and the resulting cases. This detection can then set into motion a robust and comprehensive public health response to minimize morbidity and mortality. A large-scale bioterrorism event would be unprecedented, straining and challenging every facet of medical and public health response and would quickly become a global emergency because of both the potential risk of infection and the shock to the global economy. A robust public health and medical workforce is necessary to respond effectively and efficiently to these types of events.

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