Michigan county conducts anthrax drill

Public health and law enforcement officials in Muskegon County, Michigan, recently conducted a large-scale simulation of an anthrax attack.

Officials said the drill would help them plan for scenarios that include the intentional release of a biological agent or a pandemic influenza outbreak, according to MLive.com.

First responders, who were joined by a number of volunteers, met at the Brookhaven nursing home to practice how medicine received from the Strategic National Stockpile would be distributed to hospitals and care facilities in case of an emergency.

Public Health Muskegon County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Rob Olmstead said that, although the boxes were empty, the exercise would enable the officials to figure where potential kinks in the distribution system are located.

Olmstead said anthrax was chosen because of the short time needed in order to provide effective treatment to the infected. Because of the time it would take to deliver supplies to Muskegon County from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they would probably have less than 24 hours to get the countermeasures into the public's hands.

"It's basically the worst-case scenario that we can plan for," Olmstead said, MLive.com reports.

Health officials have identified more than 50 distribution points in the area that can be used in case of an emergency. For the exercise, 17 sites were included.