Clinton County, N.Y. to hold bioterrorism drill

Clinton County Health Department officials are planning a simulated mass immunization for anthrax exposure on December 5 to train employees for a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The department have used the practice drill to distribute flu shots in past years, but the last two years focused on anthrax immunization, the Press Republican reports.

"It's a state mandate that we test our response (to a major catastrophe)," Peggy Labombard, a representative with the health department's environmental division, said, according to the Press Republican.

The department is required to show that it can serve as many as 50 people exposed to a danger like anthrax in a 15 minute window. Volunteers will be given six questions to help officials determine which type of anthrax antibiotic they should receive.

"Some people, such as pregnant women, can only receive one specific kind of medicine," Labombard said, according to the Press Republican. "If this were a real event, medication would be provided based on a medical history of those exposed."

The volunteers will be given candy instead of actual antibiotics.

"In case of a real (anthrax) attack, those people exposed would go through a 60-day treatment," Labombard said, according to the Press Republican. "We will give out a five-day supply (of candies) during the drill. In a real event, everyone would be required to come back (for their next dose of antibiotics)."

During a real anthrax exposure, the department would receive a five day supply of antibiotics locally before getting additional medicine from the national stockpile, the Press Republican reports.