Wyoming County tests emergency preparedness with anthrax simulation

Public health officials in Laramie County, Wyoming, recently conducted an emergency health disaster drill that simulated a release of the bioterror agent anthrax.

The Laramie County Health Department and several emergency and health organizations ran the drill to assess their readiness to deal with a variety of outbreaks, according to KGWN.TV.

"What we're looking at now is the anthrax, but it also could be pandemic influenza to where we're actually giving shots," Gus Lopez of the Laramie County Department said, KGWN.TV reports.

Lopez said that the system has been tested before, but it is necessary for workers to practice how to treat patients in different situations.

"The most recent was a couple of years ago when we had the H1N1. That tested our capability," Lopez said, KGWN.TV reports.

The large exercise, which is federally funded, is conducted under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, and occurs once every several years.

"In the event of a real emergency were we to order the strategic national stockpile of course our residents would receive any of the medications that they needed free of charge," Dr. Wendy Braund, a state health official, said, KGWN.TV reports.

In an actual emergency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control would be contacted in order to access the strategic national stockpile.

"They promise to get us these supplies within 12 hours is what everybody's prepared for," Kim Deti of the Wyoming Health Department said, KGWN.TV reports. "We're supposed to get them into the hands of everybody in Wyoming. We're supposed to show that we can do that within 48 hours."