Forum 2 JA
Bio-terrorism is a method used to terrorize and inflict panic on a population using harmful microorganisms such as smallpox, yellow fever, pandemic influenza, and other large-scale use of biological toxins that can harm the public health. There are numerous instances where a biological epidemic caused a public health scare in the United States and other countries as well. Some of the considered biological threats are those infectious diseases that could either be natural or human-made and can quickly spread through indirect human contact, travel through air, insect carrier, and any form of physical contact. Using a germ instead of a bomb as a new modern bioweapon tactic is also considered lethal. It may not kill or harm a lot of people, but it will inevitably create fear and panic.
Trends with public health issues
Bioterrorism is a real risk that the nation has to be prepared to tackle and stop. The challenge with such threat is that it is so hard to stop because if an infectious disease starts, it will spread so fast. Most often, too, it is hard to detect because of the nature of people’s interaction, travel, and lifestyle. When these diseases or germs are to be used as a weapon against our nation, these will weaken and threaten our national security because of their tremendous effect on the public and subsequently the nation’s economy.
The United States has its share of public health issues. Diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, and Zika virus have historically penetrated our nation’s public health. When the Salmonella outbreak was reported, the Central Disease and Control (CDC) traced and identified the poultry farm where the epidemic started. Preventative measures were enacted such as isolation of the affected poultry product or complete slaughter of the entire chicken farm population to stop the outbreak. Such a method of eradicating and isolating the cause of the outbreak is a common trend practice by the United States CDC.
The quarantine process is the most common trend that the United States uses as a method to stop the spread of the epidemic. To contain a highly contagious and fatal disease is always the best practice just as what happened “when the U.S officials confront the anthrax threat that was suspected as terrorist-directed outbreak” (npr.org, n.d.).
Important elements of public health statutes
The threat of bioterrorism is real. The challenge here is detecting, controlling and stopping the spread of the contagious disease or virus. Early warning is essential, and symptoms have to be taken seriously. Biological warfare has a more devastating effect due to the nature of acquiring such contagious diseases. An individual or a group of people may have already been infected and not know it until 24 hours later. When it is eventually known, it will already be too late.
The government has imposed a policy, certain rules, and specified regulation lawfully guided to protect public health. The “Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) is the legislation created to increase state powers to respond to bioterrorism or other forms of outbreaks to protect the public health” (ACLU.org, n.d.). The CDC has drafted this statute and made this case to the American to be able to have the capacity and the authority to impose strict rules and policies when needed.
Civil liberties dealing with public health issues
The public health law is a valuable tool to protect the American from any form of bio-terrorism or natural outbreaks. The bill is part of our nation’s weaponry to stop and combat any further damage associated with the outbreaks. MSEHPA is part of the nation’s biodefense designed to be intrusive concerning public civil liberties. The safety of all and not just of the few is more important. In such cases, there will always be trade-offs, and unfortunately, civil liberty is at the losing end on this matter. However, educating the public is as equally important as implementing the public health law. If the American people were well informed and well prepared for any infectious disease eventuality, it would be easier for the federal, state, and local government to implement and enact the law.