Discernment between deliberate and natural infectious disease outbreaks

Zygmunt F. Dembek, M. G. Kortepeter, J. A. Pavlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Public health authorities should be vigilant to the potential for outbreaks deliberately caused by biological agents (bioterrorism). Such events require a rapid response and incorporation of non-traditional partners for disease investigation and outbreak control. The astute application of infectious disease epidemiological principles can promote an enhanced index of suspicion for such events. We discuss epidemiological indicators that should be considered during outbreak investigations, and also examine their application during bioterrorism incidents, an accidental release of an agent, outbreaks of infections that were alleged to have been deliberately initiated, and a model scenario. The Grunow & Finke epidemiological assessment tool is used to examine these historical events and the model scenario. The results received from this analysis, coupled with an understanding of epidemiological clues to unnatural events, and knowledge of how to manage such events, can aid in the improved response and resolution of epidemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-371
Number of pages19
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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