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Biological Terrorism Preparedness

The Delaware Public Health Laboratory Biological Terrorism Preparedness section has the following capabilities:

Environmental and Food Testing

  • The Delaware Public Health Laboratory has the capacity to test for biological agents that may be found in environmental or food sources whether there intentionally or not. DPHL is a reference laboratory in the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Laboratory Response Network and a member of Food & Drug Administration Food Emergency Response Network. Staff participates in bimonthly conference calls and quarterly proficiency tests with these organizations. Requests for testing are evaluated by the Bureau of Epidemiology of the Division of Public Health or first responders from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Clinical Laboratory Referral

  • The Delaware Public Health Laboratory is responsible for ensuring that clinical microbiology laboratories throughout the state are proficient in testing to rule out bacterial agents that may be used in a biological terrorist act. Annual training classes are provided to clinical microbiology laboratory staff on these procedures. Isolates that cannot be ruled out must be sent to DPHL immediately for rule out testing. Molecular and cultural methods can be performed to rule out most biological agents. Clinical laboratories and hospitals are encouraged to communicate with laboratory and epidemiology staff regarding any unusual isolates or infections that they may encounter.

Preparedness Activities

  • DPHL works closely with the Division of Public Health Preparedness section and other partners in planning and exercising plans related to emergency response for public health events or disasters that may impact Delawareans. The Laboratory Director is a member of the State Health Operations Center which may be activated in the event of a State emergency or disaster. DPHL coordinates testing, training and exercising of plans with hospital laboratories for preparedness activities.

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