States may not be prepared for bioterror, but docs are working on it

While reports like this one recently have said that U.S. states wouldn't have the infrastructure in place to deal with a bioterrorism attack, CME providers have been doing a much better job in arming docs to fight an attack. According to this press release on an article in The Lancet:

    Continuing medical education programs and community drills (such as a simulated smallpox scenario [co-author R. Gregory Evans, Ph.D., MPH, director of the Institute for Bio-Security at Saint Louis University] and [Bruce W. Clements, MPH, associate director of the Institute for Bio-Security at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, and the lead author of the article] developed for the CDC for use by state and local health departments) are critical in preparing doctors, they said. The exercises are designed to help physicians see how things may unfold in an atypical outbreak of smallpox and how different their work environment might be.

    "In a bioterrorism incident, physicians will have to interface with the FBI and other government agencies that they've never had to speak with before," Clements says. "This type of communication doesn't come naturally. It's learned."

And it's important that it be learned, they add: "'You don't want to walk into your doctor's office with flu-like symptoms and be told you might have Ebola,' says Clements. 'On the other hand, if you were exposed to something exotic, such as a biological agent, you would hope your physician has a high enough index of suspicion that he or she may take the extra moment to consider something unusual or atypical.'"

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