San Diego to train postal works on bioterror antibiotic deliveries

Postal workers in San Diego will soon be trained to deliver emergency antibiotics to all 3.2 million county residents in the event of a bioterrorist attack.
Jack Walsh, a coordinator for the county's Counterbioterrorism and Preparedness Task Force, said that during a full-scale anthrax attack, antibiotics would need to be delivered to residents within 48 hours from the federal Strategic National Stockpile, KPBS said. During an anthrax attack, the county would get doxycycline and ciprofloxacin antibiotics.
“Signs and symptoms for anthrax can show as early as 48 hours," Walsh said, according to KPBS. "So the survival rate for anthrax once signs and symptoms have popped up is not very good. If we can get meds delivered, then we can save 98 percent of the people. (Medication) would come to the county’s warehouse where the Postal Service would come and pick it up and take it to their delivery units, load it up into their trucks and deliver it to everybody’s address."
Each of the postal workers who volunteers for the training would have a security or police escort and be equipped with gloves and a mask. They would be given a supply of emergency medications for their families in advance.
San Diego is one of five U.S. cities that has been selected for a grant to pay for initial distribution training and exercises.
"There’s a low probability of a bioterror attack, but a high likelihood of mass fatalities if we’re not prepared," Walsh said, according to KPBS.
In 2001, anthrax-laced letters that were sent to media companies and congressional offices killed five people.