There is an increasing threat that chemical and biological weapons will be used on a civilian population in an act of domestic terrorism. Casualties among adults and children could be significant in such an event. Federal, state, and local authorities have begun extensive planning to meet a chemical-biological incident by developing methods of rapid identification of potential agents and protocols for management of victims without injury to health care personnel. Because children would be disproportionately affected by a chemical or biological weapons release, pediatricians must assist in planning for a domestic chemical-biological incident. Government agencies should seek input from pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists to ensure that the situations created by multiple pediatric casualties after a chemical-biological incident are considered. This statement reviews key aspects of chemical-biological agents, the consequences of their use, the potential impact of a chemical-biological attack on children, and issues to consider in disaster planning and management for pediatric patients.
- Copyright © 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics