Establishing a high level of knowledge regarding bioterrorist threats in emergency department physicians: Methodology and the results of a national bio-preparedness project

Adi Leiba, Nir Drayman, Yoram Amsalem, Adi Aran, Gali Weiss, Ronit Leiba, Dagan Schwartz, Yehezkel Levi, Avishay Goldberg, Yaron Bar-Dayan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Medical systems worldwide are facing the new threat of morbidity associated with the deliberate dispersal of microbiological agents by terrorists. Rapid diagnosis and containment of this type of unannounced attack is based on the knowledge and capabilities of medical staff. In 2004, the knowledge of emergency department physicians of anthrax was tested. The average test score was 58%. Consequently, a national project on bioterrorism preparedness was developed. The aim of this article is to present the project in which medical knowledge was enhanced regarding a variety of bioterrorist threats, including cutaneous and pulmonary anthrax, botulinum, and smallpox.Methods: In 2005, military physicians and experts on bioterrorism conducted special seminars and lectures for the staff of the hospital emergency department and internal medicine wards.Later, emergency department senior physicians were drilled using one of the scenarios.Results: Twenty-nine lectures and 29 drills were performed in 2005.The average drill score was 81.7%.The average score of physicians who attended the lecture was 86%, while those who did not attend the lectures averaged 78.3% (NS).Conclusions: Emergency department physicians were found to be highly knowledgeable in nearly all medical and logistical aspects of the response to different bioterrorist threats. Intensive and versatile preparedness modalities, such as lectures, drills, and posters, given to a carefully selected group of clinicians, can increase their knowledge, and hopefully improve their response to a bioterrorist attack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2007

Keywords

  • anthrax
  • bioterrorism
  • botulinum
  • education
  • emergency department
  • smallpox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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