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Responding to Bioterrorism

This resource was developed by AHRQ as part of its Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011. Many of AHRQ's PHEP materials and activities will be supported by other Federal agencies. Notice of transfer to another agency will be posted on this site.

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

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AHRQ Helps Clinicians, Health Systems, and Policymakers

Practical Science-based Advice Emerging from AHRQ's Research

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) investment in bioterrorism research derives from the recognition that clinicians, hospitals, and health care systems have essential roles in the public health infrastructure. Specific examples of products or tools supported by AHRQ that are currently available or will soon be available include the following.

Helping Clinicians Respond

CME Training Modules on Bioterrorism Available Online

Working under contracts from AHRQ, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Research Triangle Institute have developed training modules to teach health professionals how to address varied biological agents, including pathogens that are rarely seen in the United States. The biological agents covered on the Web site are anthrax, smallpox, botulism, tularemia, viral hemorrhagic fever, and plagues. The Web site also includes modules designed specifically for:

  • Emergency room practitioners.
  • Radiologists.
  • Pathologists.
  • Infection control specialists.

The Web site is: Exit Disclaimer

A Report on Most Effective Methods for Training Clinicians

An AHRQ-funded evidence report from Johns Hopkins University that assesses the best methods to train clinicians for rare public health events, particularly bioterrorism, is undergoing peer review and will be available shortly. A quick reference summary will also be available. As soon as the summary and the report are completed, they will be made available on AHRQ's Web site at

Helping Systems Respond

Assessing the Preparedness of Your Hospital or System

Through collaboration with the University of Maryland, Emory University, and the District of Columbia Hospital Association, Booz-Allen has developed a questionnaire (PDF File, 135 KB [PDF Help]; Text Version) that can help you to assess the current level of preparedness of your hospital or health system and your capacity to respond to bioterrorist attacks. This questionnaire has already been requested and shared with the Department of Defense, with planned distribution to the Military Treatment Facilities to assess their current bioterrorism response readiness.

Developing Better Approaches for Responding to Major Bioterrorism Events

In collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, AHRQ's Integrated Delivery System Research Network based at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, have developed a computer simulation model for citywide response planning for bioterrorist attacks. This model for mass prophylaxis in the event of a bioterrorist attack will be validated by a live exercise funded by the Department of Justice.

Recognizing and Reporting Manifestations of a Possible Bioterrorist Attack

Working under a contract from AHRQ, researchers at Children's Hospital of Boston are exploring the feasibility of building decision support models for information systems of linked health care data. These information systems would help to link the public health infrastructure with the clinical care delivery system to speed reporting and enhance rapid dissemination of relevant information.

Information technology investigators at Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon working under a contract from AHRQ have been evaluating the data elements needed for integrated and effective detection systems for a bioterrorist event. A preliminary report from the contractor is undergoing peer review and a quick reference summary will be prepared.

Helping State and Local Policymakers to Respond

AHRQ's User Liaison Program (ULP) is planning an audio teleconference for State and local health policymakers to inform them of related research findings that could help them assess and strengthen the capacity of the health care system within their jurisdictions. Program planning is now under way and the program is expected to be aired in Spring 2002. For additional information, senior State and local government officials can contact ULP at

Current as of October 2001


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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