Fighting Fear of a Bioterrorism Event with Information Technology: Real-World Examples and Opportunities

Abstract

The proximate objective behind a bioterrorism event is to cause fear, with morbidity or mortality as secondary effects. Information technology must empower professionals to respond rapidly and effectively. This paper links detection and identification of a bioterrorism event with opportunities for information technology to aid such efforts, drawing specifically from real-world uses of technology with the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2000 to the present. Information technology challenges and innovations will be highlighted, as well as lessons learned from the program’s response to the anthrax attacks in 2001 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in 2003.