The last of a series of articles about the roles general practitioners could play after a chemical, biological or radiological incident covers the the initial detection of an incident involving a biological agent and the issue of prophylaxis for doctors and other healthcare workers.
The generation of fear and panic and the disruption of the normal functioning of society are two of the main aims of terrorism, and hence chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) incidents are as likely to be directed at civilian populations as at military populations. Hospitals may even be targets. If an incident occurs, it will be essential to preserve and protect the health of doctors and other healthcare workers so that local hospitals can continue to function.
GPs will probably have a greater role in detecting biological incidents than chemical or radiological incidents as biological agents will generally not have immediate effects because of the incubation period of the disease caused by the infectious agent.