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Bioterrorism


Bioterrorism is the deliberate release of a biological substance such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or their toxins into a community to create panic, fear, disease or death in people.

On these pages you can learn more about these potential bioterrorism agents and their effects, get the answers to frequently asked questions about how to prepare for a potential bioterrorism emergency, and explore links to Internet resources on bioterrorism.

Medical Countermeasures

Following the 2001 anthrax attacks, the federal government requested that all health departments in the United States develop plans to rapidly and safely provide medication to the public in the event of a public health emergency. The primary goal of such plans is to save lives and prevent illness. Medicines such as pills or vaccines that can prevent the onset of illness are called medical countermeasures (MCM). The process of providing MCM to many people during a short period of time is called mass prophylaxis. During a health emergency, medications may be dispensed to people at locations called Points of Dispensing, or PODs.

Contra Costa Health Services uses the following tool to determine the best medicine for people exposed to anthrax during a bioterrorism incident.


For more information, go to baymeds.org.

Emergency Hotline Numbers


See also:

- Shelter-In-Place instructions
- Information for Health Providers

Contact Us

597 Center Avenue, Suite 200A
Martinez, CA 94553
925-313-6740
925-313-6465 fax



´╗┐Physicians who need to report a suspected public health emergency should contact the Public Health division immediately at 925-313-6740; or after hours, call the sheriff's dispatch at 925-646-2441 and ask for the Health Officer On Call.