Besides their role in analysis of biosurveillance data, atmospheric dispersion models are useful in biosurveillance both before and after outbreaks are detected. Once an outbreak has been detected, dispersion models can help to estimate the geographical extent of contamination with the biological agent. This information is critical to the response to an outbreak and decisions to perform enhanced human and environmental surveillance in particular areas.
We discuss these uses and the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, an atmospheric dispersion modeling resource that biosurveillance organizations and first responders may wish to use either for planning and/or for assistance during an actual event.
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