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Bioterrorism Alert! Planning a response to an intentional release of smallpox virus in the U.S. Edward Braun, Dept. of Plant Pathology & Microbiology Iowa.

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Presentation on theme: "Bioterrorism Alert! Planning a response to an intentional release of smallpox virus in the U.S. Edward Braun, Dept. of Plant Pathology & Microbiology Iowa."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bioterrorism Alert! Planning a response to an intentional release of smallpox virus in the U.S. Edward Braun, Dept. of Plant Pathology & Microbiology Iowa State University, Ames Abstract: In this case study, students in a non-majors microbiology course play the role of public health officials developing a response plan for an act of bioterrorism involving the intentional release of smallpox virus in the U.S. Student groups first listen to an NPR report about a simulated smallpox outbreak and are then told that their task is to create a plan to respond to the outbreak. The groups discuss the case and seek out information they feel will be needed to develop their plan. Information gathered by the groups is posted on the class Blackboard Learn site and each group then devises and posts an action plan. The Setting: Students are in a large lecture, non-majors, introduction to microbiology course. This case is presented about halfway through the course. Precedes several units on epidemiology and human/animal diseases. Goal is to get students engaged in thinking about microbial pathogens and help them realize that they already know a lot about disease epidemics. First Class Period: Students in the large lecture are self-organized into groups of 3-5 We listen to an NPR report about a simulated smallpox outbreak (Morning Edition, Jan. 28, 2005) Groups fill out a case analysis worksheet and focus on answering the questions “What do we already know about the issues involved in this case?” and “What do we still need to find out in order to create an effective action plan?” After 15 minutes, groups are brought back together to share results from their brainstorming sessions. Groups then choose the 3 items that are most important to learn about in order to develop an action plan. (Group worksheets are handed in and are worth a few points.) Groups are assigned to research one of their high priority questions and post a short summary (1-2 paragraphs) of the information they gather on the class Blackboard Learn site. (The posting is worth a few points.) Before the next class students should read: Portion of their textbook that covers smallpox. The article “If Smallpox Strikes Portland...” by C. L. Barrett, S. G. Eubank, and J. P. Smith (Scientific American, March 2005, pp ). Postings prepared by other student groups. Second Class Period: Groups discuss what they have learned about the case and outline a response plan. (Outlines are handed in for a few points and posted on Blackboard.) Groups share the important features of their response plans with the class. Pros and cons of various strategies are discussed. Instructor discusses the official CDC Smallpox Response Plan and the strategies that were successful in eradicating smallpox. After participating in this case study, we hope students will... be familiar with smallpox and its unique status as a disease that has been successfully eradicated and yet remains a very real threat as a bioterror weapon. be able to describe the essential elements of a smallpox emergency response plan. appreciate some of the risks and benefits of vaccination programs. have discovered for themselves some of the major concepts of epidemiology. As a follow-up assignment students watch a TED talk video: Larry Brilliant wants to stop pandemics emics.html emics.html


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