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Bioterrorism: Term Review Report

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Updated: Apr 23rd, 2022


Bioterrorism preparedness is becoming more of a mandatory process to undertake than just a casual process that one needs to gain knowledge on. Wolper (2011) laid out the steps which ought to be taken into consideration in bioterrorism preparedness. The four steps are:

  1. Prepare for public health issues
  2. Prepare for healthcare delivery issues
  3. Prepare for support issues
  4. Prepare for security and hazard issues

The third step above is significant in the context of this paper.

Water Bioterrorism

Water can easily be a target of terrorists. According to Meinhardt (2005), “water supplies and water distribution systems represent potential target for terrorist activity in the United States because of the critical need for water in every sector of our industrialized society” (p. 213). Water plays a very vital role in everyday life and, therefore, there is a need to ensure that health professionals are well trained on handling water contamination cases.

Some of the challenges which may arise from water contamination:

  • The need to very quickly determining of the extent of contamination
  • There will be a need to identify the diseases that are likely to be passed over by the contaminated water.
  • The route of the agent is likely to be differently than what is expected.
  • The public will have to be constantly updated o avoid public panic and hysteria

Some of the possible water points where contamination may take include a community collection point, the treatment stages of the water, and recreation points among others (Meinhardt, 2005).

It has been noted that recognition of illness resulted from water contamination is quite challenging. This will make it very hard for the healthcare professionals to point out the symptoms any illness resulting from water contamination.

As a proof of the show of the potential damage that water contamination can have, the author draws from an example of an accidental contamination of the municipal drinking water which took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was recorded to up to 403, 000 residents of Milwaukee suffered from diarrhea after using the contaminated water. 54 people succumbed to death as a result of the contamination. It was estimated that 725,000 productive days were lost due to this event. A similar event had taken place in Ontario leading to 7 deaths. It was estimated that in excess of USD 11 million people were needed to clear the water system up for use in Ontario.

I think that the public needs to be trained on how to respond to such a situation. Properly informing the public on how to handle such a situation, will make the event of a water contamination outbreak more manageable and few deaths and cases of infection will be incurred.


It is clear that water contamination is a huge possibility. It is also clear that water contamination has a possibility of reaching the most number of people in the quickest time possible. In the event that municipal council water is contaminated, the cost which will likely be incurred will be great. There will be a great loss of lives and funds lost will be much. Healthcare professionals need to learn more on water contamination and how they can quickly determine an outbreak of a water contamination in a given area.


Meinhardt, P. (2005). Water and Bioterrorism: preparing for the potential threat to US water supplies and public health. Annual Review Public Health 26(1), 213-237.

Wolper, F. (2011). Health care Administration: Managing Organized Delivery Systems, (Fifth Edition). New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

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