Tampa health officials preparing for bioattacks at Republican convention

Epidemiologists with the Hillsborough County Health Department are requesting that health care providers in Tampa, Florida, quickly report diseases to public health officials before, during and after the Republican National Convention.

Public health officials expressed a desire to hear immediately from health care workers who see patients with food-related illnesses, bloody diarrhea, unusual rash or any unexplained severe illnesses. The officials also want to hear of any suspected illness from possible bioterrorism, including plague, brucellosis, botulism, anthrax or viral hemorrhagic fevers, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

"We are also asking that providers report whether or not a patient is visiting for the RNC or has attended any RNC events," the request from the department said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "We understand that this information would not normally be collected, but it would be especially useful for us during this period."

Health officials also want to hear about two or more patients with unexplained adult respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, flu-like illness, sepsis, neurologic disease, dermatological disease or gastrointestinal disease, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The convention will be held between August 27 and August 30 in Tampa. The officials want health care workers to be on the alert until at least September 6.