Bioterrorism/Risk Communication/Disaster Preparedness Web Site Resources

Sections 2.1 and 2.5 of the New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR 2) have been modified, under emergency authority, in response to the potential for disease caused by bioterrorist agents. Effective November 20, 2001, six new diseases have been added to the reportable disease list (section 2.1), and list of diseases requiring laboratory submission (section 2.5). Placing additional biological substances on the section 2.1 list permits local health officers to utilize quarantine authority, if necessary, to prevent further transmission.

Many of the agents considered by national experts to be likely bioterrorist weapons are already on the reportable disease list for New York State. Current reportable diseases include anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, cholera, plague, and tularemia. The new diseases added to the reportable disease list include:

  • Glanders
  • Melioidosis
  • Q Fever
  • Smallpox
  • Staphylococcal enterotoxin B poisoning
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever

Additional changes to section 2.1 of the regulations give the State Commissioner of Health the authority to add additional diseases to the list of reportable diseases, if the diseases are determined to be communicable, rapidly emergent and a significant threat to public health, provided that the diseases that are added to this list solely by the Commissioner's authority remain on the list only if confirmed by the Public Health Council at its next scheduled meeting.

In addition, any disease outbreak or unusual disease is now a reportable event. Any unusual disease or unusual disease outbreaks are also required to be reported under the new regulations. Unusual disease is defined as a newly apparent or emerging disease or syndrome of uncertain etiology that a health care provider or the State Commissioner of Health has reason to believe could possibly be caused by a transmissible infectious agent or microbial toxin.

It should be noted that a Notice of Emergency Adoption will be published in the NYS Register on December 5, 2001 regarding the regulatory changes. The emergency regulations are effective for 90 days but could be extended if the regular rule making process (see below) is not complete.

The Department of Health will go through the regular rule making process to make the regulations permanent. A 45-day public comment period will begin when the Notice of Proposed Rule Making is published. After 45 days, an assessment of public comments will be made. Afterwards the final regulations will be published in the NYS Register, at which point they are effective.