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The Challenge of Hospital Infection Control During a Response to Bioterrorist Attacks

Robert W. Grow, Lewis Rubinson
Date posted:
September 15, 2003
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2003;1(3):215-220

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Available on publisher's website
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Full article as PDF


The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise overview of infection control practices and their implications for health care delivery for persons with responsibility for biodefense planning, program management, or policy development. Infection control practices, here defined as methods to prevent person-to-person transmission of contagious disease in health care settings, would be an integral part of interrupting the spread of an epidemic in the aftermath of a bioterrorist attack with a contagious pathogen. This paper is not intended as a definitive guide to infection control practices for health care personnel or institutions; such guidelines already exist. Instead, the focus is on the challenges that widespread implementation of rigorous infection control practices would pose to hospital operations, especially were hospitals required to deliver medical care for unusually high numbers of patients after a bioterrorist attack. Three of the six Category A biological agents/diseases (smallpox, plague, and the viral hemorrhagic fevers) are transmissible from person-to-person, and hospitals caring for patients with these diseases would need to implement aggressive infection control practices.



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