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SARS: Mobilizing and Maintaining a Public Health Emergency Response

Posid, Joseph M. MPH; Bruce, Sherrie M. BS; Guarnizo, Julie T. BBA; Taylor, Melissa L. BA; Garza, Brenda W.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: May-June 2005 - Volume 11 - Issue 3 - p 208–215
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During the spring and summer of 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mobilized the resources of the entire agency in a concerted effort to meet the challenges posed by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Over the 133 days that comprised the emergency response phase of the SARS outbreak, CDC utilized the skills of more than 850 people. These staff were deployed from every Center, Institute, and Office within CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. They provided technical assistance to countries reporting large numbers of cases and requesting assistance, met passengers and crew from these locations upon arrival in the United States, and assured that the syndrome was reported and thoroughly investigated within the United States. This paper describes the operational requirements that were established and the resources that were used to conduct this investigation.

This article gives an account of how, during the spring and summer of 2003, the CDC mobilized the resources of the entire agency in a concerted effort to meet the challenges posed by the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, utilizing the skills of more than 850 people from every Center, Institute, and Office within the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Emergency response coordinator in the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Posid)

Acting Deputy Director, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Bruce)

Information technology developer, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Guarnizo)

Technical writer in the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Taylor)

Health communications specialist for the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Garza)

Corresponding author: Joseph M. Posid, MPH, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, NCID, CDC (Mailstop C18), 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta, GA 30333 (e-mail: jmp2@cdc.gov).

The authors thank the rest of the NCID SARS Operations Team (Marcia Brooks, Diane Hamm, John Murphy, Sue Lin Yee, Kim Zimmerman).

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.