Health AlertsIN RESPONSE TO BIOTERRORISM ACTIVITIES
The Camden County Public Health Community presents information on:
- Mail Handling Procedures
- Emergency Preparedness, Surveillance and Response
- General Information
Co-sponsored by Department of Health & Human Services Virtua Health System Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center Cooper Health System Kennedy Health System Office of Emergency Management Gloucester City OEM EMS Alliance VA Nat'l Disaster Medical System American Red Cross Medical Examiner's Office UMDNJ, School of Public Health Medical Society
The Anthrax disease has three different forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation and intestinal. Each form has different symptoms:
- Those infected get a raised, itchy bump that resembles an insect bite.
- After one or two days, the bump changes into a painless ulcer about ¼ to 1" in diameter with a black center.
- Lymph glands adjacent to the area may swell.
- Symptoms are similar to those of the flu: fever, mild cough, muscle ache, difficulty breathing.
- Condition deteriorates to severe breathing problems, hemorrhaging and shock.
- Nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever.
- Condition deteriorates to abdominal pain, vomiting blood and severe diarrhea.
Onset of symptoms after exposure is typically 1-7 days, but can be as long as 60 days. The anthrax disease IS NOT transferred person to person in any of its forms.
Typical characteristics that should trigger suspicion about envelopes or parcels:
- Have any powdery substance on the outside
- Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you
- Have excessive postage, handwritten or poorly typed address, incorrect titles or titles with no name, or misspellings of common words
- Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated
- Have no return address, or have one that cannot be verified as legitimate
- Are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped
- Have an unusual amount of tape
- Are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
- Have strange odors or stains
What to do if you receive a suspicious letter or parcel:
- Do not shake or bump
- Do not open, smell, touch or taste
- Isolate the object immediately and cover with plastic or other covering.
- Treat it as suspect. All humans and pets leave the area immediately. Any person who touched the package needs to vigorously wash hands with warm water and soap.
- Call 911 to report the incident
REPORTING SUSPICIOUS SUBSTANCES AND EVENTS
We ask all residents to be alert to the possibility of tainted mail and to suspicious events around you. If you believe you have received a letter or package that is contaminated, based on the guidelines under "Typical characteristics", follow the instructions given and call 911 immediately. If you have general questions about anthrax or other topics related to Bio-Terrorism, please call the New Jersey DH&SS Information Hotline: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (609) 538-6030, 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. (800) 367-6543
The CDC continues to respond to inquiries about anthrax and bioterrorism. The CDC Public Response Hotline was established to provide the public with information about anthrax and other biologic and chemical agents. The hotline is available in English (888-246-2675) and Spanish (888-246-2857).
If you believe you have witnessed a suspicious event, such as cars or trucks being driven to and abandoned in front of government, medical or educational institutions, please call your local police department or 911.
Please be prepared to give location, license plate #'s and any other details that may be helpful to law enforcement agents.
We are prepared to help and we are asking the public not to panic.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
911 Communications Camden County HAZ/MAT Team Gloucester City HAZ/MAT Team Cherry Hill HAZ/MAT Team Waterford HAZ/MAT Team Gloucester Twp HAZ/MAT Team Office of the Sheriff/Bomb Squad Prosecutor's Office Office of Emergency Management Department of Public Safety All Law Enforcement Agencies and Fire Departments
- This team of highly trained and well-equipped emergency personnel are on call 24 hours a day to respond to investigative requests from residents, businesses, schools, hospitals and government institutions.
- We are also responding to requests to meet with Municipalities to present detailed information at Town Meetings and to answer questions from attendees.
- Camden County received State Funding and has undergone Bioterrorism training for the past 4 years. We have the most up-to-date equipment and take a leadership position in the Tri-County area in being prepared to serve our residents.
- Response to suspicious incidents is immediate.
The State Department of Health & Senior Services, The Centers For Disease Control and various educational and medical institutions have provided a wide variety of detailed information on topics related to Bioterrorism on the World Wide Web:
Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Fact Sheet: www.state.nj.us/health/er/biofs.htm
Anthrax Fact Sheet: www.bt.cdc.gov/DocumentsApp/factsheet/AboutAnthrax.pdf
Civilian Bio-defense Studies: www.hopkins-biodefense.org
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE