CDC, in collaboration with local, state, and territorial health departments,
is enhancing existing disease surveillance systems for specific diseases that
are normally rare in the United States but thought to have a high potential
for public health impact if used as biological terrorism agents.5,6
This is being accomplished by improving training of clinical, laboratory,
and public health personnel in recognizing suspicious disease presentations
and by expanding of existing, disease-specific surveillance infrastructure.
In addition, surveillance is being improved for disease presentations such
as acute respiratory distress, hemorrhagic, or meningeal symptoms normally
caused by common infectious agents but that could indicate an increase in
illnesses caused by a biological agent used in terrorism. Surveillance mechanisms
to rapidly assess changes in rates of disease include monitoring of calls
to local emergency medical systems, regularly reviewing emergency department
discharge diagnoses, and linking infection control practitioner networks.