Trust for America's Health Initiatives

Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness

Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness

Health emergencies pose some of the greatest threats to our nation, because they can be difficult to prepare for, detect, and contain. Important progress has been made to improve emergency preparedness since September 11, 2001, the subsequent anthrax attack, and Hurricane Katrina; three events that put severe stress on our public health system. However, major problems still remain in our readiness to respond to large-scale emergencies and natural disasters. The country is still insufficiently prepared to protect people from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or acts of bioterrorism, leaving Americans unnecessarily vulnerable to these threats.




Policy and Advocacy

For TFAH position statements and letters, congressional hearings, briefings and testimony, and additional policy and advocacy materials, click here.

Press Releases

February 11, 2016
TFAH Calls for Additional Policies, Research, Funding and Public Health Capacity to Prepare for Zika and Other Emerging Outbreaks

December 17, 2015
Report Finds Major Gaps in Country’s Ability to Prevent and Control Infectious Disease Outbreaks 28 States and Washington, D.C. Reach Half or Fewer of Key Indicators

July 23, 2015
TFAH Releases Issue Brief – The Clean Water Rule: Clearing up Confusion to Protect Public Health

June 23, 2015
TFAH Statement: Lancet Commission and White House Summit Highlight Urgent Need to Address Climate Change Health Threats

February 4, 2015
Measles Vaccination Rates for Preschoolers Below 90 Percent in 17 States

More press releases


Selected items from TFAH's Resource Library:

NACCHO National Profile of Local Health Departments NACCHO releases the National Profile of Local Health Departments report on its new Profile website, The most report demonstrates continued funding cuts across several programmatic areas at local health departments (LHDs), including emergency preparedness. Funding for emergency preparedness, particularly per capita funding, saw a significant drop in 2013, with LHDs reporting median per capita funding of $1.15 in 2013 compared to $2.07 per capita in 2010.

Outbreaks: Protecting Americans from Infectious Diseases The report includes a report card for how well states scored on 10 indicators of strategies being used to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks. Some topics Ebola, Chikungunya and Chagas; antibiotic-resistant Superbugs; healthcare-associated infections; whooping cough and tuberculosis; HIV/AIDS and hepatitis; and the ability to respond to bioterrorism attack

Public Health Preparedness 101 Over a decade ago, the nation faced tremendous threats during the September 11th and anthrax tragedies. Medical and public health professionals were immediately called on to respond to the crisis, and responded heroically—despite limited resources. It quickly became clear that public health system needed to be updated in order to respond to emergent health threats, giving rise to the notion of public health preparedness: the ability of our public health system to quickly, effectively, and actively respond to any health disaster that may strike. Prevention, identification, and containment of disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, and natural disasters remain pivotal components of a public health system which is prepared to address the needs of the country.

CDC on Emergency Preparedness and Response U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's site, intended to increase the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

CDC on Public Health and Natural Disasters U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's site, intended to increase the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to disasters.

More resources