The role of internists during epidemics, outbreaks, and bioterrorist attacks.


Internists are well-positioned to play significant roles in recognizing and responding to epidemics, outbreaks, and bioterrorist attacks. They see large numbers of patients with various health problems and may be the patients' only interaction with the medical community for symptoms resulting from infectious diseases and injuries from radiation, chemicals, and/or burns. Therefore, Internists must understand early warning signs of different bioterrorist and infectious agents, proper reporting channels and measures, various ways that they can assist the public health response, and roles of different local, state, and federal agencies. In addition, it is important to understand effects of a public health disaster on clinic operations and relevant legal consequences.

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