Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Trent Whitcomb


The use of biological agents as weapons has been prevalent throughout history. Only when the US experienced a bioterrorist attack in 2001 did additional funding begin to invest in preparing for other potential attacks. These initial investments, along with others, have funded preventative measures such as mass surveillance through biosensor technology and the development of preparedness programs such as the Laboratory Response Network and Hospital Preparedness Program. Based on learnings from previous outbreak events, in the event of a bioterrorist attack involving smallpox early detection will be the key to initiating a rapid and effective response. Additionally, further measures need to be taken to detect smallpox release either in the form of lab modified pathogens or laboratory compromise. Technologies must be made more accessible especially in rural areas where access may be limited. Because access may be limited, investments must be made into programs to better train medical personnel in identifying smallpox. This education must include topics not only on how to identify potential cases and management, but include topics related to identifying available resources and correct use of personal protection equipment to prevent further infection. Based on research, this education would improve healthcare personnel’s willingness to respond during an attack to improve containment. Finally, preparing education for the public prior to an event is important as they can assist in early identification and reduce panic. Improving bioterrorist attack readiness involving smallpox in the above areas is the key for reducing morbidity, mortality, and its overall impact on public health.



Included in

Public Health Commons