Population Monitoring Activities Associated with the National Response Plan
R.C. Whitcomb, Jr. and C.W. Miller (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Following exposure events and/or environmental releases of radioactive material, evacuated, sheltered, or other identified members of the public would require external and/or internal radiological monitoring and, if indicated, decontamination. In addition, these exposed and/or contaminated individuals would also be identified for dose reconstruction, biodosimetry/bioassay, medical treatment (chelation therapy, cytokine treatment, etc.), and possible entry into long-term monitoring programs and registries. The current capacity to implement these activities at the State, local, and tribal level is extremely limited. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) designated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the lead Federal agency for assisting and supporting State, local, and tribal governments in population monitoring. Under the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex of the National Response Plan, DHHS/CDC is responsible for assisting State, local, and tribal governments in external monitoring of people and decontamination; monitoring for internal contamination and administering available pharmaceuticals for internal decontamination; establishing a registry of potentially exposed individuals; performing dose reconstruction; and conducting long-term monitoring of this population for potential health effects. CDC is undertaking a number of activities to fulfill its responsibilities, including conducting scientific studies to determine whether some existing hospital medical equipment can be used to measure the amount of internal contamination in people and working with other agencies and organizations from around the world to produce guidance and best practices that State and local public health agencies can use in establishing and conducting population monitoring after a radiological incident. The goal of this effort is to enhance the public health and medical system preparedness so that people are better protected in the aftermath of a nuclear/radiological incident.