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TB Notes 1, 2002
DTBE Staff Called to Respond to the Terrorist Attacks and Bioterrorism
The September 11 attacks to the World Trade Center and Pentagon
and later bioterrorism attacks required a prompt, extensive response
from all public health officials. The response from CDC was massive,
and persons from all over the agency were deployed to assist in
public health efforts relating to these events.
After the September 11 attacks, all four of the division Epidemic
Intelligence Service (EIS) Officers were in the first wave of CDC
responders. McKenzie Andre, MD, Puneet Dewan, MD, Lisa Nelson, MD,
and Lorna Thorpe, PhD, traveled to New York City to assist. During
this deployment, the officers worked 12-hour shifts in selected
hospitals conducting surveillance for disaster-related injuries.
With the long shifts at the hospital and sometimes commutes of up
to 3 hours, the officers had time for little else besides their
Shortly thereafter, with the anthrax attacks, additional DTBE
personnel were enlisted to assist with public health efforts. Some
personnel were assigned to work in the Emergency Operations Center
at CDC in Atlanta, while others were deployed for field work in
Connecticut, the New York City area, or Washington, DC. DTBE personnel
who were involved in emergency assignments either in Atlanta or
the field include the following:
- Communications and Education Branch: Gaby Benenson, MPH, Regina
Bess, Nick DeLuca, MA, Ann Lanner, Wanda Walton, MEd
- Surveillance and Epidemiology Branch: McKenzie Andre, MD, Lauren
Lambert, Scott McCombs, MPH, Peter McElroy, PhD, Renee Ridzon,
MD, Philip Spradling, MD
- International Activities office: Tracy Agerton, MPH, Paul Arguin,
MD, Alicia Fry, MD, Kayla Laserson, ScD, Elizabeth Talbot, MD
- Field Services Branch: Phillip Finley, Judy Gibson, MSN, RN,
Darryl Hardge, Michele Thomas, Peg Tipple, MD
- Office of the Director: Joe Posid
- Research and Evaluation Branch: Lorna Bozeman
Work in Atlanta consisted mostly of answering the many public inquiries
and other assignments in the CDC Emergency Operations Center. Even
in-house, DTBE staff contributed to bioterrorism-related efforts.
Under a very tight time schedule, several staff members of the Communications
and Education Branch prepared educational materials for persons
exposed to anthrax and taking a 60-day course of antibiotics: "What
You Need to Know About Anthrax," and "Questions and Answers for
People Who Are Taking 60 Days of Antibiotics to Prevent Inhalational
(Lung) Anthrax," and fact sheets on doxycycline and ciprofloxacin.
In the field, division staff assisted with environmental
sampling and epidemiologic studies. DTBE's staff expertise in aerosol
transmission of infectious agents, respiratory protection and engineering
controls, and adherence with long-term antimicrobial medications
proved useful in assistance with the CDC response.
All DTBE staff were affected by these events, even
those who were not deployed. Staff members who were not assigned
emergency duties worked long hours to cover work duties for colleagues
who were deployed. Although work on these events has been completed,
DTBE staff remain willing to assist with further emergency public
health efforts, as needed.
Reported by Renee Ridzon, MD
Chief, Outbreak Investigations Section
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination