The RAND Technical Document TR239 Exemplary Practices in Public Health Preparedness

Public health refers to the art and science of disease prevention, infection control, and organization of health services and emergency response to disease as well as the promotion of physical and mental health, hygiene and healthy population.

1 A public health emergency can be expected to arise as a result of the spread of infectious disease which is the result of the natural spread of a virus or bacterial infection. However, the development of “weapons of mass destruction”, including biological weapons that have the potential for causing a widespread threat to life by introducing highly contagious and deadly biological agents have posed new threats.

2 Several nations, including Iran, North Korea and the deposed Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein have been suspected of possessing biological weapons that are capable of indiscriminate and widespread destruction. Links that the previously mentioned regimes have with terrorist organizations have posed new threats related to covert operations that result in biological attacks and it is also possible for natural public health emergencies to present themselves at any time. The recent threat of global flu pandemic and the rapid spread of avian flu are examples of public health emergencies.

3 Thus, it is important for any nation, including the United States of America, to develop and to implement public health preparedness plans.
Crisis management demands that due attention be paid to the magnitude of the disaster and the appropriate response should be presented while having regard for the potential future developments that are possible.

4 This means that it is necessary to have established plans and procedures for foreseeable crisis situations. Emergency response plans are likely to consider perspectives related to risk,&nbsp.coordination between various agencies, coordination building mechanisms, technology, law, policy and available resources including people, finance and communication resources, etc.&nbsp.&nbsp.