New York County conducts anthrax preparedness drill

Public health officials in Marcy, New York, recently conducted an exercise to test their ability to respond to an anthrax attack.

The Oneida County Health Department operated the point of distribution exercise at the State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome. The mass casualty drill included about 50 county government employees and local volunteers, according to

"Testing our plan for an anthrax scenario allows us to identify and address some of the challenges involved in efficiently coordinating the dispensing of life-saving medications to a large population while addressing the diverse needs of our community including those of the elderly, the youth, those with language barriers and those needing mental health support following a traumatic experience," Patrice Bogan, the OCHD interim health director, said, reports.

OCHD spokesman Ken Fanelli said that one of the goals of the drill was to test the county's ability to treat 200 patients in one hour. In addition to undergoing a decontamination process, the volunteer victims received medication, in the form of M&M's, and were provided with mental health support, according to

Representatives from the New York State Department of Health and the University of Albany Center for Public Health and Preparedness were on hand to observe the event.