Health Alert Network
When an event threatens the health of Minnesotans, fast, efficient, and reliable communication to those responding to the event can prevent illness and save lives. Minnesota’s Health Alert Network (HAN) enables public health staff, tribal governments, health care providers, emergency workers, and others working to protect the public to exchange information during a disease outbreak, environmental threat, natural disaster, or act of terrorism.
All of Minnesota’s 91 public health agencies have built local HANs to distribute alert information rapidly to health care providers and others in their jurisdiction. Tribal governments have also developed their own health alert networks. Minnesota’s Health Alert Networks are connected to a national Health Alert Network managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This decentralized development has resulted in a robust and flexible communication tool for local, state, or national emergencies.
Since January 2000 when the first Health Alert was sent, Minnesota’s HAN has been used to:
- alert public health agencies to a potential bioterrorism event (later determined to be a hoax) involving anthrax contaminated letters;
- distribute Web-based resources for the public and health care providers in the wake of the concern about asbestos contaminated vermiculite;
- alert responders to resources about protecting health during flooding and flood cleanup;
- alert local public health agencies and clinics to a case of rubella and direct them to Web resources for clinicians including diagnostic and treatment guidelines and a photo of a rubella rash, and for the public including rubella vaccine information in English and eleven other languages;
- provide information to public health agencies and health care providers about anthrax contaminated meat, that led to the death of a Minnesota man
- keep Minnesota health care providers and public health staff up to date on health threats following 9/11; and
- provide just-in-time information about other time sensitive and urgent issues threatening the health of Minnesotans.
Health Alerts are no longer published on the public website. If you are a clinician or public health responder to emergencies and are not receiving Health Alerts, please talk to your supervisor, your local health department or contact Workspace staff via the OEP Feedback form.