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Agents, Diseases & Threats

| Biological | Chemical | Radiological | Mass Casualty | Natural Disasters | Explosions | Reportable Diseases |


A bioterrorism attack is a purposeful release of a virus, bacteria, or other germs that can cause illness or death in people, animals or plants. While many of these agents are found in nature, they may be altered to increase the likelihood of infection and resistance to medicine. These agents can be spread through air, water, and food.

Image of patient on a stretcher during an exercise.

For more information on how to prepare for a bioterrorism attack, visit:

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A chemical emergency happens when chemicals that are potentially harmful to the public’s health are released. These releases can be caused by an accident or a terrorist attack.

For more information on how to prepare for a chemical emergency, visit:

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People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day, from natural and man-made sources. There is a possibility that large amounts of radiation can be released though an accident or a terrorist attack. Radiation in large amounts is life threatening.

For more information on how to prepare for a radiation emergency, visit:

Image of a volunteer demonstrating how to wear a mask for protection
during an emergency.

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Mass Casualty

A mass casualty event is defined differently in every community though they always indicate that the number of injured persons exceeds the immediate community resources. Mass casualty events occur in a variety of settings such as highways, concert stadiums, raceways, etc. It is normal for individuals to suffer from emotional and physical stress during and after such an event. Previously diagnosed health conditions may worsen.

To help prepare yourself for a mass casualty event, visit:  CDC | Mass Casualty Event Preparedness and Response

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Natural Disasters including Severe Weather

Natural disasters including severe weather events can happen quickly such as a flash flood or a hurricane. In either case, it is important to take these events seriously.

For more information on preparing for weather related disasters, visit:

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Biological, chemical, and radiological emergencies may result from intentional detonation of explosives. However, accidental explosions such as gas leaks can cause equally devastating amounts of damage without biological, chemical, or radiological elements. It is important to plan for explosion emergencies as planning can help minimize injuries and save lives.

For more information on how to plan for explosions, visit: | Explosions

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Reportable Diseases in Delaware

All Delaware physicians, laboratories and other health care providers are required by regulations to report patients with certain conditions to the Health Information & Epidemiology office. Reporting enables appropriate public health follow-up for your patients, helps identify outbreaks and provides a better understanding of disease trends in Delaware. For information on those diseases that are reportable and the process of disease reporting, visit this webpage.

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