The Anthrax Epidemiologic Tool Kit: An Instrument for Public Health Preparedness

Dori B. Reissman, Ellen B. Steinberg, Julie M. Magri, Daniel B. Jernigan


Biosecur Bioterror. 2003;1(2) 

In This Article


Concurrent epidemiological investigation of anthrax cases in five geographic regions required rapid development of field assessment tools, enhanced strategies for active surveillance, and public information campaigns for each field investigation site. We sought to create a central repository of such anthrax response tools to reduce duplication of effort, and to assist state and local health departments with public health emergency response efforts. We compiled questionnaires, fact sheets, chart abstraction forms, response algorithms, and enhanced surveillance system descriptions and forms from each field investigation team. We participated in debriefing sessions and conducted informal interviews to obtain constructive feedback about the tools and processes used in the field. We learned that centralizing and, where appropriate, standardizing these tools and protocols qualitatively improved response efficiency, comparability, and interpretation of the field information. Bioterrorism and emergency public health preparedness activities should include the creation and refinement of epidemiologic tool kits to facilitate rapid and scientifically appropriate field response.


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