Surely, we all have heard of the horrible things that can happen to us when we walk out of our homes or even while we are still inside. Still, we all tend to think that bad things will happen to someone else not to us, so we do not bother to get ourselves informed about the possible risks that might await us. But no matter whether we want it or not, we still should be aware of certain risks, and in my opinion anthrax is one of them. This disease and its use in bioterrorist attacks became quite known in 2001, when envelopes containing spores of anthrax were sent through the U. S. mail, five people then died, twenty two became ill with the disease (OSHA, 2013).
At the federal level, the institution responsible for handling this threat is the department of Health and Human Services – HHS, it controls a number of agencies which deal with public health emergencies; the key HHS agencies are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Service Administration and the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. Their main functions are ensuring the preparedness of emergency response, providing federal response to terrorist attacks and recovery from terrorist attacks, working with other agencies on providing a proper emergency response, work on federal emergency response plans, development of communications technologies for emergency response teams (CIDRAP, 2012). State agencies are responsible for emergency plans and services, their development and implementation, as suited for the needs of particular states and local communities, each state has its own Department of Health, thought their functions and structure differs from state to state. State and local agencies are also responsible for running laboratory services, operation of local hospitals, staffing the first response teams, help in rapid detection of unusual situations which may be the result of bioterrorism, training and education of key target audiences. It should be added that, the sphere of public health preparedness historically received limited funding, which made the proper response to the risks arising quite hard. Though, after the attack on September, 11, funding for some areas of this sphere was increased, including the anthrax issue.
When concerning the anthrax issue, communication plays a major role. The communication within the first hours is especially important, as this is exactly when the problem can be solved or otherwise get out of control. The communication network is designed to help in exchanging key information between public health institutions, distribution of information and advice to media and the public, safe exchange of data. The first strategy I would like to outline about developing the communication system is working with the citizens. In the first hours from the bioterrorist attack people will want to know what is happening, they will want to what they should do and if they cannot get that information, they will listen to what others say, rumors will spread, the result will be panicking people, who will think that the problem is insurmountable; it might not be that way, but they were not explained the issue. So, in my opinion, one strategy would be to establish a network of communication with ordinary citizens, this will help in keeping the public opinion calm. The other strategy is developing cooperation with the media, journalists always want to make a sensation, but bioterrorism is not the proper issue for that. Proper communication with the media, giving them true exact data as soon as possible, will provide truthful news and the public will be aware of the up-to-date state of affairs.
As to my city, Milledgeville, in my opinion, it is partly prepared for the anthrax issue, just as most of the cities. The city has well-trained medical workers, operating hospitals, many of the residents know or at least have heard of anthrax used in bioterrorist attacks. But terrorism is not something that can be dealt with easily, so surely there would be panic and if not casualties, then people who would fall ill, but eventually, I think the city would successful cope with the problem.