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Bio-Response Operational Testing and Evaluation (BOTE) Project – Phase 1: Decontamination Assessment
Non-expert summaryThe US Environment Protection Agency led a multi-agency investigation into the response to a release of a biological agent. The report summary states "The Bio-response Operational Testing and Evaluation (BOTE) Project was a multi-agency effort designed to operationally test and evaluate a response to a biological incident (release of Bacillus anthracis spores, the causative agent for anthrax) from initial public health and law enforcement response through environmental remediation. The BOTE Project consisted of two distinct phases, both using the same non-pathogenic simulant (or surrogate) for these spores. Phase 1 was a field-level decontamination assessment, and Phase 2 was an operational exercise involving key federal agencies responsible for the forensic investigation, public health assessment, and remediation following a biological incident. Phase 1 was designed to address site remediation after the release of a simulant within a facility in an operational setting, drawing upon the recent advances in both biological sampling and decontamination. "
A Review of biological agent sampling methods and application to a wide-area incident scenario to characterize time and resource demands
Non-expert summaryThe executive summary of this US EPA report states: "A large-scale aerosol release of a persistent, disease-causing biological agent can result in contamination of a wide area, and may require significant time and resources for recovery depending on the severity of adverse health effects on the exposed population(s). Many unknowns are associated with characterization and clearance sampling during response to a wide-area (including indoor, outdoor, and underground area) biological incident. The biological agent and its characteristics, the release mechanism, amount of contaminant released, and a plethora of environmental and meteorological factors are completely separate, yet interconnected processes that greatly influence the extent and level of contamination. Similarly, decisions related to the sampling strategy (i.e., sample medium, sampling area, spacing, etc.) will affect the cost, time, amount of waste generated, and personnel (i.e., resource demand) required to characterize and clear the contaminated area. The process of understanding how these elements influence one another and contribute to the overall problem is referred to as a systems approach. To what degree sampling and, more specifically, variations in the sampling strategy interact and contribute to overall resource demand, following a wide area biological incident, is still largely unknown. To date, there have been no attempts to model characterization sampling following a wide-area biological incident."
Non-expert summaryThe management of decontamination of the population (who were mobile enough to walk through a showering lane) in the event of a large-scale chemical release in the UK was modelled, based on data collected in field trials. The movement of volunteer casualties at two mass decontamination field exercises was monitored using passive Radio Frequency Identification tags and detection mats. The data were used to inform a computer model of the UK fire and rescue service component of the mass decontamination process. This identified bottlenecks in the process and led to recommendations for change, particularly in the re-dressing part of the process.