From [A]nthrax to [Z]ika: Key Lessons in Public Health Legal Preparedness
Indiana Health Law Review. 2018; 15(1): 23-42.
20 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 14, 2018
Over fifteen years ago, the 2001 terrorist and anthrax attacks in the United States led to seminal law and policy changes in public health planning, preparedness, and response. Coextensively, a litany of major public health threats and challenges (e.g., West Nile Virus, Hurricane Katrina, H1N1, Ebola, Measles, Zika) have emerged. Each of these events required real-time responses and solutions among federal, tribal, state, and local actors, as well as private sector partners. These responses pursuant to “legal triage” include significant reforms in public health emergency (PHE) laws and policies during and after the exigencies.
Emergency preparedness is a primary focus across all levels of government and throughout health care and other industries. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to prepare for and prevent public health events that are unpredictable in their timing, physical and mental health impacts, and costs. Hundreds of thousands of public health officials, health care workers (HCWs), emergency managers, and others have been educated and trained in preparedness and response efforts. The science of preparedness has revealed innovative approaches to abating negative public health repercussions while minimizing intrusions on individual rights. Americans are more knowledgeable and aware of public health risks, though some public health preparedness messages have had limited utility (e.g., colored terrorism level alerts from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)).
Keywords: emergency, preparedness, law, policy, infectious disease, public health
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation