- I think that we are taking a step in the right direction
when we gear up the healthcare system to handle victims of a bioterrorist
- However, there is a need for people to have their own
supply of antibiotics. Tablet form Doxycycline or Ciprofloxacin can be
stored infdefinitely if kept in freezer.
- The laws need to be changed to accommodate people who
wish to purchase preventive antibiotics. In a City with a population of
7.5 million, how would antibiotics get to that population?
- Even if the pharmaceutical companies could manufacture
enough antibiotics for a 10 day supply for 7.5 million people, how would
we get the medication to the people. If there is a central dispensing point,
it would take some 45,000 personnel to distribute antibiotics. If we do
a home delivery dispensing, it would take between 100,000 to 200,000 people
to bring medication to peoples homes.
- If people have a personal supply of antibiotics, then
they won't need to be in the street looking for medicine. Quarantines won't
be broken, rioting won't take place and black marketeers won't be coming
into ground zero selling medication. Those are all very good reasons to
change the law allowing for preventative antibiotic sales.
- I also believe that people should maintain at least a
10 day supply of storable food, water purification tablets, and personal
supplies. This ounce of prevention will allow the streets to be kept clear
for ambulance and first responder personnel. In a serious event there
will be many dead to bury and the streets will be a very unfriendly place
- One other thought to consider: If an event takes place,
hospitals, pharmacists, and medical personnel may, themselves, be victims.
In a bioevent, there may be no relying on anyone but yourself. Prepare
as if the event was going to happen tomorrow.
- Health Facilities Gear For Bioterrorism
- By Shari Rudavsky <firstname.lastname@example.org 9-20-00
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
is launching a $155 million national ``bioterrorism'' preparedness program
-- of which about $40 million will go to state health departments, including
slightly more than $1 million to Florida.
- The allocation is designed to ramp up local emergency
response systems in the event of a strike by terrorists with biological
- CDC's program comes after several South Florida hospitals
have conducted drills and delivered special suits to workers should a bioterrorist
incident occur at their facility.
- In the event of an emergency, the federal government
will alert Jackson Memorial Medical Center officials to the danger.
- While no such alert has ever been issued, the hospital
held a drill at the Orange Bowl in the spring, said Juan D. Reyes, administrator
for risk management for the Public Health Trust.
- Hospital personnel set up external areas to isolate the
victims. Patients were decontaminated in external showers before they entered
the hospital, and the personnel treating them wore special suits to protect
- DISASTER PLANS
- ``We are the tertiary care center for South Florida,
and if there is a major disaster, most people will end up at Jackson Memorial,''
- In Broward County, both Broward General Medical Center
in Fort Lauderdale and Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood have similar
- ``Since the potential is there, it's far better to plan
for even the slightest potential of that threat than to be suddenly faced
with reality and then try to deal with it,'' said Richard Wistner, director
of security for the Memorial Healthcare System.
- ``We're in a bioscience renaissance,'' said Dr. Scott
Lillibridge, director of the CDC's bioterrorism preparedness and response
program, which began about a year and a half ago. ``There's just a tremendous
amount of new biotechnology out there. Who's to say this will all be used
for humanitarian purposes?''
- Much of the CDC's efforts are aimed at improving the
public health infrastructure, which government officials say has declined
in recent years and might not effectively respond if a terrorist unleashed
a biological agent. The program also is developing a national stockpile
of vaccines and drugs to fight such microbes.
- DANGEROUS DELAYS
- What makes bioterrorism particularly insidious, as compared
to a bomb or chemical agent, is that doctors may not realize the source
of the illness, causing delays that could increase the number of victims.
- ``In the bioterrorist attack, the medical professional
is the key professional in the response, because they would be the ones
recognizing that something was released,'' said Dr. Mark Kortepeter of
the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease.
- This month, the institute will host a satellite broadcast
for health officials on biological weapons. The session will focus on the
five most likely agents of biological warfare: anthrax, the plague, smallpox,
the botulin toxin, and the rysin toxin.
- Every bit of information helps, says Dr. Robert Self,
medical executive director of the Broward County Health Department and
a member of a state working group on bioterrorism.
- ``A lot of these people have never seen a case of smallpox,''
- TRAINING PROGRAM
- To encourage local medical professionals to gain expertise,
the state group is exploring the idea of starting a special certification
program for people who would respond in the event of a terrorist attack,
Self said. This program could blossom into a pilot for other states, he
- The department is exploring using Palm Pilots in the
field to help speed up its response rate and improve communications should
an emergency occur.
- In October, the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare
Association will host a workshop for its members, focusing on bioterrorism.
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