North Dakota trains for anthrax attack

The Southwest District Health Unit and a group of volunteers recently took part in full-scale training exercises across western North Dakota to test an anthrax outbreak scenario.
Officials said that even though the likelihood of an outbreak is low, there is still a chance an anthrax outbreak could occur in the state, the Dickinson Press reports.
“We do it because of terrorism,” Sherry Adams, Southwest District Health Unit administrator said, according to the Dickinson Press. “Not even North Dakota is immune.”

There were 62 points of distribution stationed in seven cities across western North Dakota that were set up to gather information and distribute antibiotics as part of the scenario.
The PODs were stationed at locations such as Hillside Baptist Church, Heart River Elementary School and Dickinson High School.
“This particular scenario hasn’t been tested much in North Dakota,” Adams said, according to the Dickinson Press. “I think it went really well.”
Because anyone infected with anthrax must be treated within 24 to 36 hours, time is a big issue when it comes to distributing antibiotics. Going through the process of getting antibiotics typically takes less than 10 minutes. The antibiotics were ordered from Atlanta and it took about three hours for the shipment to arrive.
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Joe Wanner encountered communication issues, stating that faxing and emailing was backed up during the exercise. Adams said that despite the issues, everyone worked well together.
“Obviously, there is always room for improvement,” Adams said, according to the Dickinson Press. “That’s why we exercise, so in the event of a real disaster we have gotten some of those glitches out.”