Emerging infectious disease outbreaks and bioterrorism attacks warrant urgent public health and medical responses. Response plans for these events may include use of medications and vaccines for which the effects on pregnant women and fetuses are unknown. Recent experiences with outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome, monkey pox and anthrax, as well as response planning for bioterrorism and pandemic influenza, illustrate the challenges of making recommendations about medical interventions for victims. Experience with bioterrorism attacks (anthrax), viroterrorism attacks (arena viruses) and emergency response preparedness (smallpox vaccination) has been gained. Understanding the physiology of the body, the factors that influence the teratogenic potential of medications and vaccines and the infection control measures that may stop an outbreak will aid planners in making recommendations for care during large-scale infectious disease emergencies.
Key words: Bioterrorism, emerging infections, emergence preparedness, pathogens, viroterrorism.
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