Virginia stages bioterror event

Norfolk, Va., held a terror drill last week to test the preparedness of its health officials in the event of a biological attack.

Health officials said that the challenge during a bioevent will be to get all of the potentially thousands of afflicted citizens citywide help. One way to do that, the officials said, is to train people in methods of aiding their neighbors.

As part of last week's simulation, volunteers passed out special bags prepared by the health department. Contained in the bag was information about dealing with a bioevent and Skittles, which simulated necessary medicines.

"This would be the type of emergency which we feel that the majority of the population may have potentially been exposed to a highly lethal germ," Dr. Demetria Lindsay, of the Norfolk Department of Health, told

In the event of a major biological disaster, Dr. Lindsay said, providing aid and medicine to the citizenry will be the difference between life and death.

"We would be looking for every means that we could utilize to help get medication to people quickly," Dr. Lindsay said.

Volunteers, Dr. Lindsay said, will be key to fighting an attack, as those that know the neighborhood can be utilized to deliver packets of antidote to the correct people at the right time.