Q Fever in the Suburbs: Zoonotic Disease Outbreak Tabletop Training Exercise
Armando Hoet, Joanne Midla, Jeanette O'Quin, Jason Stull
Efforts to prevent and control the spread of emerging/re-emerging zoonotic diseases require a coordinated interdisciplinary response by public health professionals. We propose the development of a participative zoonotic disease outbreak tabletop exercise. The realistic scenario will focus on a zoonotic outbreak (Q Fever) affecting a suburban community. Due to the classification of this biological agent as Category-B, as well as its potential agricultural origin and multiple transmission pathways (aerosol, foodborne, waterborne, direct contact), an outbreak of this disease in the community must involve multiple agencies and professionals. Therefore, as the scenario develops, participants will engage in group discussion and decision-making opportunities designed to simulate a multiagency response. Through this exercise it is expected for students to learn about the role of their chosen profession in a zoonotic outbreak as well as the roles of other professions including public health, human and animal health, environmental health, law enforcement and emergency management. In recent years, we have successfully created similar types of scenarios (e.g. AI, Rabies, Tuberculosis) in collaboration with a multidisciplinary panel (DVMs, MDs, nurses, EMS, epidemiologists) from different public health and agricultural/veterinary agencies as well as academia. Using those scenarios, over 600 public health officials as well as veterinary and graduate students have been trained. The critical reviews from such audiences will be used to further develop the Q-Fever case to target the needs of professionally and geographically diverse health students. The completed interactive exercise will have two distinct formats: one for small groups (workshop style), and one for large classes (conference style).