Because of the crucial role public health agencies will play in the event of a bioattack, they have become important national security assets. To some observers, this represents a shift in public health away from traditional functions, prompting the advocacy of a balanced approach to public health in which national security concerns do not jeopardize the broader goals of public health.
Terrorism and Public Health is written in that vein. Edited by 2 former presidents of the American Public Health Association, the second edition of Terrorism and Public Health comprises 20 chapters written by subject matter experts. The book is divided into 6 sections that include chapters addressing public health responses to terrorist acts, specific weapons used by terrorists, and emergency planning. Overall, the book provides a wide overview of the issues confronting public health agencies with respect to their national security role. However, the book has a specific ideological slant that permeates nearly every page. For example, the opening chapter includes a familiar table that compares the number of deaths attributable to bioterrorism in the modern era with those attributable to other causes—a shorthand way of dismissing the importance of bioterrorism.
Adalja AA. Terrorism and Public Health: A Balanced Approach to Strengthening Systems and Protecting People. JAMA. 2012;308(7):719. doi:10.1001/jama.308.7.719-a
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