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FOR RELEASE: April 13, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Sooner Spring Bioterrorism Drills Ongoing Today - Update #1

Media Note: The Oklahoma State Department of Health will issue four media updates today while Sooner Spring bioterrorism drills are conducted in Oklahoma City, Lawton, McAlester, and Tulsa.

As of 8 a.m. today:
In Oklahoma City, delivery of the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile training components is being transferred from federal to state control at Will Rogers World Airport, and cargo will be moved to Lawton and McAlester by noon for distribution and use in those communities.

In McAlester on Friday, more than 8,000 imitation antibiotics packages were distributed to first responders and specialized populations, including nursing home residents, local hospital staff and their families, as well as prisoners at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, as part of an exercise to provide medications to a community exposed to pneumonic plague. This morning, helicopters delivered medications for distribution to other communities in the county, including Crowder, Kiowa, Savanna, Krebs, and the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Four distribution sites in McAlester will distribute the mock medications to the community.

In Lawton this morning, city officials, public health and local hospital representatives are gathering at the City/County Emergency Operations Center at the Comanche County Courthouse to begin tabletop exercises concerning a mock outbreak of botulism in a bottled water supply. The team will mobilize an outbreak investigation and work with epidemiologists on call at the Oklahoma State Department of Health in analysis of cases and identification of possible source.

In Tulsa on Friday, local hospitals participated in an exercise involving case investigation of a suspected smallpox outbreak. Staff from the Tulsa City-County Health Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention practiced contact interviews, case tracing, and hospital surveillance. This morning, local law enforcement are directing security exercises while health officials conduct an exercise involving vaccination of medical providers, law enforcement, and others involved in containing the outbreak. Exercises involving case investigation will continue.

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