Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and How We Stay Prepared: A UTMB BCU Activation Exercise

In collaboration with internal and external partners, UTMB SPECTRE spearheaded a multi-part Biocontainment Care Unit (BCU) activation exercise. The simulation evaluated UTMB's capacity to provide optimal response to an incident that resulted from exposure to an unknown infectious pathogen. This exercise took place in two phases – the first as a tabletop discussion exercise and the second as a full-scale BCU activation exercise. Objectives of this exercise included: clinical and risk assessment, clinical skills and health system response, institutional policies, processes, and procedures, & internal and external communications.

Biocontainment Exposure Committee (BEC) Tabletop Drill: Part 1

This exercise explored and assessed how UTMB responded to a potential exposure for a returning traveler, a virologist from the Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) working in a South American community, known to be doing field work in areas that are endemic for high consequence pathogens.

Biocontainment Care Unit (BCU) Activation Exercise: Part 2

This exercise assessed UTMB’s readiness for a BCU activation, that resulted in the above traveler’s admission to UTMB’s BCU after testing positive for a novel Arenavirus.

 Skills Station Procedures

BCU team members not participating in the patient care portion of the exercise had an opportunity to practice basic and advanced bedside procedures using point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) techniques, as well as rotating through a waste cleanup station, gaining skills to keep the patient care environment safe and secure from potentially contaminated waste.

  • Spill cleanup
  • Waste packaging & autoclave
  • Central venous catheter placement
  • Endotracheal tube (ETT) placement

SPECTRE strives to partner with other organizations.

We are available to assist, collaborate and/or observe your organization’s special pathogens readiness through exercises, drills and other events.

For external inquiries, please contact SPECTRE at spectre@UTMB.edu