Wicomico County Health Department continues to develop and evaluate health preparedness in our County and provide guidance to improve preparedness, where appropriate. The health department, through grant funds provided by Maryland MDH, Office of Preparedness and Response, continues to utilize CDC’s Community Preparedness Guides to assist in the development of health preparedness in our communities and to assist with focusing resources for improving preparedness.

In addition, the health department maintains a response capacity to quickly address biological threats in the community and maintains a system designed for early detection of rare diseases, such as those that may occur from the result of terrorism.

Radiation black symbol on yellow background.Radiation Information

What Is Radiation?

  • Radiation is a form of energy that is present all around us.    
  • Different types of radiation exist, some of which have more energy than others.
  • Amounts of radiation released into the environment are measured in units called curies. However, the dose of radiation that a person receives is measured in units called rem.

For more information on radiation, visit the CDC’s website at

How Can Exposure Occur?

  • People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day, both from naturally occurring sources (such as elements in the soil or cosmic rays from the sun), and man-made sources. Man-made sources include some electronic equipment (such as microwave ovens and television sets), medical sources (such as x-rays, certain diagnostic tests, and treatments), and from nuclear weapons testing.
  • The amount of radiation from natural or man-made sources to which people are exposed is usually small; a radiation emergency (such as a nuclear power plant accident or a terrorist event) could expose people to small or large doses of radiation, depending on the situation.

Radiation - learn more about radiation and health at CDC's website.

What Happens When People Are Exposed to Radiation?

  • Radiation can affect the body in a number of ways, and the adverse health effects of exposure may not be apparent for many years.
  • These adverse health effects can range from mild effects, such as skin reddening, to serious effects such as cancer and death, depending on the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose), the type of radiation, the route of exposure, and the length of time a person was exposed.
  • Exposure to very large doses of radiation may cause death within a few days or months.
  • Exposure to lower doses of radiation may lead to an increased risk of developing cancer or other adverse health effects later in life.

Anthrax: What You Need to Know

What Is Anthrax?

Anthrax is a serious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that forms spores. A bacterium is a very small organism made up of one cell. Many bacteria can cause disease. A spore is a cell that is dormant (asleep) but may come to life with the right conditions.

There are three types of anthrax:

  • skin (cutaneous)
  • lungs (inhalation)
  • digestive (gastrointestinal)

Image of mailHow Do You Get It?

  • Anthrax is not known to spread from one person to another.
  • Anthrax from animals. Humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by breathing in anthrax spores from infected animal products (like wool, for example). People also can become infected with 
  • gastrointestinal anthrax by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. 
  • Anthrax as a weapon. Anthrax also can be used as a weapon. This happened in the United States in 2001. Anthrax was deliberately spread through the postal system by sending letters with powder containing anthrax. This caused 22 cases of anthrax infection.

For more information on anthrax, visit the CDC’s website at

Suspicious Mail or Packages image from the USPS. If you receive a suspicious letter or package: stop, don't handle it; isolate it immediately; don't open, smell or taste; and activate your emergency plan and notify a supervisor.

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