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Bioterrorism Information for Physicians

Published on: 9/22/2015 11:59 AM
​The purpose of the following information is to provide accurate and timely information about the detection and control of illnesses resulting from exposure to agents of biological or chemical terrorism. This site is designed for health care providers and facilities in Santa Clara County.
If you suspect illness or disease from biological or chemical terrorism, call the Santa Clara County Disease Prevention and Control Program IMMEDIATELY. Daytime: (408) 885-4214, or after hours call county communications (408) 299-2501 and ask to speak with the public health physician on call.
The CDC has developed a list of high priority or Category A agents, and second highest priority, or Category B agents. Category A agents would pose a risk to national security because they (a) can be easily disseminated or transmitted person-to-person, (b) cause high mortality with potential for major public health impact, (c) might cause panic and social disruption, and (d) require special action for public health preparedness.
To assist health care providers in "detecting a zebra among horses" – detecting illness from category A and B agents, we have developed a ZEBRA PACK. Many of these materials were adapted with permission from the New York City Department of Health. We are grateful for their leadership. The ZEBRA PACK files are PDF documents and therefore you will need the Acrobat reader to view them. See THE ZEBRA PACK attachment PDFs below.
Category A Agent Information: (see attachment PDFs below)
  • Anthrax
  • Smallpox
  • Plague
  • Botulism
  • Tularemia
  • Viral hemorrhagic fevers
Category B Agent Information (Category B agents are second highest priority: they are moderately easy to disseminate, cause moderate morbidity and low mortality, and require enhancements of diagnostic and surveillance capability - see attachment PDF below):
  • Q fever
  • Brucellosis
  • Glanders
  • Alphaviruses (VEE, WEE, EEE)
  • Ricin toxin
  • Epsilon toxin of Clostridium perfringens
  • Staphylococcus enterotoxin B
  • Food and waterborne diseases such as Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli0157:H7, V. cholerae, C parvum
California Department of Health Services
CDC: Public Health Emergency Response and Preparedness
United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease
Vaccinia (Smallpox) vaccine: Recommendations for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2001.
Use of Anthrax vaccine in the United States
Biological and Chemical Preparedness: Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response
Helpful links to information about chemical agents can be found in the San Francisco Department of Public Health site: