Australia's notifiable diseases status, 2001: Annual report of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System

The Australia’s notifiable diseases status 2000 report provides data and an analysis of communicable disease incidence in Australia during 2000. This section of the annual report contains a report on responses to possible bioterrorism. The full report can be viewed in 25 HTML documents and is also available in PDF format. The 2001 annual report was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Vol 27, No 1, March 2003.

Page last updated: 08 April 2003

A print friendly PDF version is available from this Communicable Diseases Intelligence issue's table of contents.

Other communicable disease surveillance

Responses to possible bioterrorism

Public health authorities in Australia and overseas have developed contingency plans to deal with any threats, however unlikely, from chemical, biological, and radiological agents.

Australia has developed its own chemical, biological, and radiological plans through Emergency Management Australia, working in partnership with health agencies and other arms of government.

Australia has had counter-terrorism plans in place for a number of years, and the health system's level of preparedness was increased in preparation for the Sydney Olympics, and again following the events of 11 September 2001 and the cases of anthrax associated with contaminated mail in the USA, and the more recent bombings in Bali. Further details of the anthrax cases in the USA are provided in the zoonoses section of this report.

Preparations by the Department of Health and Ageing include:
  • training within health departments and with other agencies;
  • adoption of medical treatment protocols suitable for a civilian population;
  • stockpiling of appropriate pharmaceutical supplies;
  • increasing diagnostic and health surveillance capability;
  • improved coordination and advisory arrangements; and
  • access to international advice to alert Australian authorities to overseas developments.
The Department of Health and Ageing will continue to be engaged in the development of a coordinated bioterrorism response with state and territory health authorities and with laboratory networks. Australia's laboratories performed extremely well during the anthrax hoaxes and false alarms in October and November 2001, responding rapidly and effectively to the increased workloads and the demand for speedy and accurate results.

This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 27, No 1, March 2003.

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