Biological Disaster Management

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 8, 2022, 6:26

The term "Biological Disaster Management" refers to the emergency plans in place in the event of a planned or unintentional biological release. The nature of the occurrence determines the response.

A biological disaster is a calamity that causes widespread illness and death among humans and animals when they come into contact with biological perils in the form of live microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other microbes.

Types of Biological Disasters

Biological Disasters can take the following forms:

Epidemic: Epidemics impact a disproportionately large number of persons within a group, community, or area at the same time. Examples include Cholera, Plague, Japanese Encephalitis (JE), and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

Pandemic: A pandemic is an outbreak of existing, new, or reemerging illnesses and pestilences that spreads across a broad territory, such as a continent or even the globe. Examples include Influenza H1N1 (Swine Flu) and COVID-19.

Steps for Biological Disaster Management

Management of the Environment:

  • To avoid waterborne illnesses such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery, and others, safe water supply and adequate sewage pipeline maintenance are essential.
  • Biological Disaster Management requires personal hygiene awareness and provision for washing, cleaning, bathing, preventing overcrowding, etc.
  • Water management, such as avoiding allowing water to stagnate and gather, and other approaches are used to eliminate vector breeding sites.
  • For vector control in Biological Disaster Management, pesticides are sprayed regularly, outdoor fogging is used, etc.

Outbreak Detection and Containment:

  • Primary healthcare providers should be capable of recognizing and diagnosing the condition.
  • In Biological Disaster Management, surveillance data should be communicated to public health authorities.
  • For proper Biological Disaster Management, the epidemiological analysis should be done of surveillance data.
  • Measures should be taken to improve public health and the provision of appropriate medical care.

Management of Post-Disaster Epidemics:

  • After every biological disaster, the danger of epidemics escalates and thus, requires quick and accurate Biological Disaster Management steps.
  • For such kind of Biological Disaster Management, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Systems (IDSS) keeps track of disease origins, modes of transmission, and outbreaks.

Levels of Biological Disaster Management

Biological Disaster Management: At the State Level

The State Health Department is the nodal agency in charge of planning and preparedness, including resource development of Biological Disaster Management in the context of surveillance, early identification, quick response, and outbreak control.

In the case of a bioterrorist ambush, epidemiological clues must be identified to determine the attack's nature. To implement the public health response, the State Health Department establishes Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs).

Biological Disaster Management: At the District Level

The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is the authority in charge of planning and implementing the district-level Biological Disaster Management programs.

There are program officers for vaccination, tuberculosis, and malaria under the DMO/CMO. PHCs and sub-centres are peripheral units that provide preventive and promotional health care. Under IDSP, preparedness measures are supported, with inspection being a primary functional component.

Biological Disaster Management: At the Local Level

As first responders of Biological Disaster Management, the Local Disaster Management Committee (Village DM Committee) is supposed to be trained and empowered.

Disease outbreaks are monitored by Anganwadi workers, ASHAs, and Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) at the village/sub-centre, who then notify the health centres.

Biological Disaster Management plans layout the preparation for mobilizing and deploying all of the resources needed to respond to a biological release that threatens human health and livelihood.

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FAQs on Biological Disaster Management

Q.1.What are the different levels of Biological Disaster Management?

Ans. Biological Disaster Management is deployed at the State, District, and Local Level.

Q.2. What are the steps for Biological Disaster Management?

Ans. Biological Disaster Management involves the management of the environment, outbreak detection and containment, and management of post-disaster epidemics.

Q.3. Who monitors disease outbreaks at the local level of Biological Disaster Management?

Ans. Anganwadi workers, ASHAs, and Auxillary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) monitor disease outbreaks at the local Biological Disaster Management level.

Q.4. Write any two examples of biological disasters.

Ans. Coronavirus (Covid-19) and H1N1 virus (swine flu) are the examples of biological disasters.