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FOR RELEASE: November 30, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Media Advisory:
Bioterrorism and Anthrax Issues

Bioterrorism and Anthrax Update 11/30/01:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released "Interim Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines," which outline CDC's strategies for responding to a smallpox emergency. The plan, which is a working draft, has been sent to all state bioterrorism coordinators, state health officers, state epidemiologists, and state immunization program managers for review and comment. The plan identifies many of the federal, state, and local public health activities that would need to be undertaken in a smallpox emergency, including response plan implementation, notification procedures for suspected cases, CDC and state and local responsibilities and activities, and CDC vaccine and personnel mobilization. State, local, and private health officials are being asked to identify and describe gaps in the overall plan, proposed activities, and guidelines. The plan does not call for mass vaccination in advance of a smallpox outbreak because the risks of side effects from the vaccine outweigh the risks of someone actually being exposed to the smallpox virus. A summary of the plan is posted at www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases/smallpox.
  • The CDC and Connecticut Department of Health continue to investigate a case of inhalational anthrax in a 94-year-old Connecticut woman who died last week. Environmental samples taken from her home and known locations she frequented have tested negative for anthrax and no source has yet been identified. Investigators are trying to determine if there may have been additional, undiagnosed cases of anthrax in the state of Connecticut. None have been identified at this time.
  • As of noon today, the Public Health Laboratory of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) had performed testing on a total of 783 environmental samples for the presence of anthrax or biologic agents. All have tested negative for biologic contamination.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health receives daily updates from the CDC and other government agencies regarding current issues in anthrax and other bioterrorism concerns. This information is posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Web site at: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/anthrax/anthrax.htm.


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