Health and Human Services Department Says the Nation is Ready - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/25/03

Health and Human Services Department Says the Nation is Ready

Recently, there have been some questions about the country's ability to handle an anthrax attack or some emergency that sickens large areas of people in a short time. For example, a study last week suggested an anthrax attack on a city the size of New York could kill more than 100,000 within days.

On Tuesday, the Health and Human Services Department is responding by reassuring the nation that we are prepared for a chemical or biological terrorist attack, if it comes to American soil.

"We have four international surgery teams we can send internationally if we need. We can have these individuals activated and in place within hours after an incident, so we could go in there and vaccinate, could help diagnose, help triage, whatever is necessary. We could do that so quickly," said Tommy Thompson, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary.

Secretary Thompson also told reporters that there are thousands of health professionals on call, trained and ready to head out at a moment's notice. He also said that 600 tons of medical supplies are located strategically in 12 areas across the country. Which means, he says, that the government is prepared to move 50 tons of antidotes and other drugs to any city in America within seven hours if need be.

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