More Should Be Done to Prepare for Bio-Terrorism - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/20/03

More Should Be Done to Prepare for Bio-Terrorism

On Thursday, Lubbock became the first city in the nation to host a training exercise for weapons of mass destruction. You can appreciate that even more if you read the findings of a Stanford study.

Researchers at Stanford have found that an anthrax attack on a city the size of New York could kill more than 100,000 people within days. The researchers say they are concerned that the government is relying too much on sensors to find anthrax, and not enough on getting drugs like the antibiotic Cipro out to medical workers and affected areas fast enough.

The researchers stress that while smallpox is a much more contagious disease, it is also a slower-moving illness compared to anthrax. As a result, they believe that controlling the consequences of an anthrax attack poses a bigger challenge -- that we should be prepared to meet.

Again, in Lubbock for the past three days, First Responders have been training for chemical and biological attacks. In their exercise Tuesday, they were looking for weak points in treating large numbers, so that those can be corrected before an attack, if it were to occur.

President Bush has called for spending nearly $6 billion over 10 years to develop new vaccines against the most likely germ weapons such as anthrax, ebola, and plague. The latest study on anthrax was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was led by researchers at MIT Operations Research Center and Yale School of Management.

The researchers analyzed a variety of possible responses to a scenario in which two pounds of anthrax are dropped in a city of 11 million people (the approximate size of New York City) and 1.5 million are infected.

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