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Public Health Division
Public Health Division

Bioterrorism & Public Health Preparedness Information

Because of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 and anthrax-related incidents, community concern about bioterrorism has increased.  However, the real risk of bioterrorism to you and your family is extremely small.  At this time, there is no evidence of a current or threatened bioterrorism attack in Berkeley.  The information below is provided to help you understand potential risks, take sensible steps to protect yourself, and move forward with daily activities.

City of Berkeley Public Health Division
1947 Center Street, Second Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Map to Public Health Division

510-981-5300 (Phone)   510-981-5395 (Fax)   510-981-6903 (TDD)

Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

City of Berkeley Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response

Links To Additional Bioterrorism Information

Local Public Health Departments

City of Berkeley Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response

Bioterrorism is the intentional use of biological agents such as bacteria, viruses or poisons to cause harm in people, animals, or plants.  The City of Berkeley and its Public Health staff have the ability to identify and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, including outbreaks caused by deliberate, terrorist use of biological agents.  City staff has been working with local medical providers, Alameda County, the State Department of Health Services, the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research bioterrorism and develop response plans.

Like cities across the country since the September 11th terrorist attacks and subsequent anthrax incidents, the City of Berkeley is working to expand its overall bioterrorism response capacity.  City of Berkeley staff continue to closely monitor events on the East Coast and provide appropriate public health information and services to our community.  We are also building upon existing local, state and national partnerships to:

  • strengthen surveillance methods for early warning of a bioterrorism event,

  • facilitate the diagnosis of cases for the private medical sector,

  • coordinate rapid treatment for Berkeley residents if they are exposed,

  • implement increased communicable disease control and prevention strategies to help keep Berkeley safe, and
    further coordinate public health response systems with other emergency responders such as police, fire and hazardous materials experts. 

Questions and Answers About Flu Shots and Anthrax

 Will the Flu shot protect me from Anthrax?

  • NO.  Anthrax is a bacteria and the flu is a virus.

If I get the flu shot and I have flu-like symptoms, does that mean I have Anthrax?

  • NO.  There are many other viruses that cause flu-like symptoms.  Getting the flu or having flu-like symptoms does not mean that you have anthrax.  There are many people who could get very ill or die if they contracted the flu.  It is important that these people get the flu shot first.

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Information About Common Bioterrorism Agents

Information is provided about some of the following bioterrorist agents commonly discussed in the media.  None of these agents has been identified in a human case in Berkeley or California. 

The City of Berkeley recommends that people do not take vaccines or preventive antibiotics related to any of these agents unless there has been a documented exposure.  Doing so could create problems, such as encouraging resistance to antibiotics.  To date there have been no documented human exposures to bioterrorist agents in Berkeley or California. 

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Links to Websites With Additional Bioterrorism Information

Local Public Health Departments 

Other Useful City of Berkeley Web Pages

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Public Health Division, 1947 Center Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-5300
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903