public. At the second meeting, held November 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C., the committee met with the Commander of USAMRIID to learn about the institute’s biosurety plans for its facilities and personnel, and with the Fort Detrick Fire Chief and Emergency Manager to be briefed on emergency response coordination with Frederick County. The committee also was briefed on the agreements between the Barquist Army Health Clinic and Frederick Memorial Hospital. In addition, the committee met with the medical and security staff of Frederick Memorial Hospital, officials from Frederick County’s emergency management and health departments, and representatives from the community.
The committee reviewed numerous documents and testimony, which included the final EIS, supporting information provided by USAMRIID and its contractors, comments from members of the public (including a DVD of the proceedings of open hearings held by the Frederick County Commissioners), and the scientific literature. The committee focused its assessment on material relevant to assessing potential human health risks and available strategies for preventing or mitigating accidental exposures to pathogens. Such materials included Army regulations, USAMRIID operating procedures, operating guidelines from CDC and NIH, guidelines from the Department of Defense and other agencies regarding biological safety and security, and information on laboratory-acquired infections at USAMRIID and other biosafety laboratories. The information was evaluated in the context of whether appropriate and credible consideration was given to human health risks and whether strategies are in place to prevent and mitigate potential exposures from pathogen research and the spread of disease in the event that an exposure or illness occurs.
The committee decided to organize its evaluation by first providing some context for its review of the EIS. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the guidelines, procedures, and regulations that govern the operations of USAMRIID to see if they meet acceptable standards under guidance from NIH, CDC, and other relevant agencies. Chapter 3 summarizes plans for medical and emergency management response to address any incidents that could occur at USAMRIID, possibly involving partnerships with Frederick County and Frederick Memorial Hospital. A review of the EIS is provided in Chapter 4, with a focus on the scientific adequacy and credibility of the analyses of health and safety risks associated with pathogen research. Finally, Chapter 5 considers the community concerns about the planned expansion of USAMRIID and measures that might be taken to address them.