Ohio county simulates anthrax attack

Health officials in Franklin County, Ohio, helped organize a large drill on Thursday simulating a mock anthrax attack.

The event, which combined the efforts of public health workers and volunteers, focused on distributing 10 days’ worth of antibiotics to as many local residents as possible, Dispatch.com reports.

“Anthrax kills one in 10 people who are hospitalized with symptoms of the bacterial infection,” Dr. Mysheika LeMaile-Williams, the city's medical director, said, according to Dispatch.com.

Antibiotics taken before people develop symptoms can stop the disease.

In total, around 600 participants, including the mayor, officials from police and fire departments, and the American Red Cross, took part in playing the various roles of the public and workers for the drill, which was held at local high schools during its spring break, Dispatch.com reports.

The scenario was initiated when six detectors registered anthrax in the air, triggering a subsequent notification to to public health officials who then consulted with dozens of other federal and local officials and called for protective antibiotics from the national stockpile, according to Dispatch.com.

In order to vary the antibiotic needs from the public, organizers of the drill made sure there were participants playing the roles of pregnant women and those that needed to collect antibiotics for as many as 20 people.

The staff met its goal of providing medicine for 2,000 people per hour at each site, Dispatch.com reports.