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Delaware Health Alert Network #8

March 21, 2003 6:57 pm

Health Advisory

On Monday, March 17, 2003, the Department of Homeland Security upgraded the Homeland Security Advisory System from yellow level (elevated risk of terrorist attack) to orange level (high risk of terrorist attack).

While there are no data to indicate that water has been specifically targeted, our nation's water infrastructure remains at risk to terrorist attacks or acts intended to substantially disrupt the ability of a water system to provide a reliable supply of water. Therefore, public health agencies and water utilities are encouraged to continue to work together, keep each other informed of any unusual activities and confirm the proper operation of notification channels in emergency response plans.

Public health agencies should immediately notify local water utilities and the state's drinking water administrator in the event of an unusual number of cases of gastrointestinal illnesses or other indications of illness that may suggest water contamination by a biological, chemical or radiological agent.

Water utilities should immediately notify public health agencies 24/7 emergency operations number and the state's drinking water administrator in the event of specific threats received at a water facility, customer complaints in water quality, or if circumstances lead the utility to believe that the water has been or will be contaminated with a biological, chemical or radiological agent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issue this advisory jointly.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
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