California's public health officials prepared in the event of bioterror attack

Despite recent research in the Netherlands and Wisconsin that made a contagious version of avian-flu airborne, public health officials in California and the Sacramento area remain prepared and unconcerned.
County and state health officials took the news of these studies in stride because they've already been planning for years what to do if a virus completely jumps from birds to humans. The terrorist and anthrax attacks of 2001 gave them the warning to plan for a fierce and sudden outbreak of disease, the Sacramento Bee reports.
"I'm not particularly alarmed by the recent research," James Watt, the head of Communicable Disease Control with the California Department of Public Health, said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "We have always known that influenza is a serious disease and that we need to be ready for a serious strain to emerge. Right now we stand as prepared as we've ever stood to respond to a pandemic. But influenza is unpredictable."
While some biosecurity experts warned that the research should not have been done, others said that it was important to improve the understanding of the deadly H5N1 virus. When the virus first emerged in 1997, it killed nearly 100 percent of the birds it infected in Asia. It killed tens of millions of birds throughout Asia and killed two dozen humans in 2004.
The state of California has prepared for a "maximum credible event," a worst-case scenario in which a new flu virus would infect 25 to 35 percent of residents and kill approximately 200,000 people. Each county in the state has its own local plan to respond to such a pandemic. Area doctors are always on the lookout for unusual-looking flu cases or a cluster of cases.
"We never know, day to day, whether we're going to be dealing with a new flu strain or an anthrax outbreak or a tuberculosis outbreak," Anthony Gonzalez, the director of the Sacramento County public health lab, said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "We're always listening and looking."