Ohio county simulates bioattack

Various members of the health community in Richland County, Ohio, took part in a mock disaster this week to test emergency preparedness in the event of a biological attack.

The cities of Mansfield, Ontario and Shelby worked in conjunction to organize the exercise, which involved each city’s respective Health Departments as well as the MedCentral hospitals in Mansfield and Shelby and the Richland County Emergency Management, according to MansfieldNewsJournal.com.

The purpose of the drill was to test how effectively these north-central Ohio Health Departments and hospitals responded to public health emergencies like bioterrorist attacks, outbreaks of infectious disease or other public health threats and emergencies.

The exercise, funded by a grant, concentrated on the planning and communication among agencies, healthcare organizations, public health reporting, response and public communications during a scenario with uncertain circumstances.

Since the scenario focused on the behind-the-scenes effort of a serious public health threat, no live patients, first responders or emergency officials responding to an incident in real time were used in the test, MansfieldNewsJournal.com reports.

According to a CDC poll from 2005, nearly 90 percent of all hospitals in the United States trained their staff in case of an emergency caused by a biological agent such as smallpox or anthrax.

Participants in the mock disaster plan to follow-up with another scenario in the near future.