Exclusive: the DHS [Department of Homeland Security] national biosurveillance integration center – ready or not, opening September 30th 
“[…] Threats of bioterrorism have drawn attention to the need for early detection and warning - often referred to as biosurveillance systems. […] The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to unveil its center for combating bioterrorism today. […] Last month the DHS' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report on […] the various means of detecting a biological event - natural or man-made. According to the report, since the anthrax events of 2001 and 9/11 nearly $32 billion has been spent on bio-defense and biosurveillance, and to date there is less than optimal coordinated effort to integrate the data gathered from local, state and federal agencies into anything resembling intelligence.” (Family Security Matters; 30Sep08; Dr. Robin McFee) http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.1315/pub_detail.asp
Short takes: Main post office plans emergency drill today [San Diego, California]
“An emergency drill, complete with employee evacuations, is planned this afternoon at the county's main post office in Carmel Mountain, postal officials said. The U.S. Postal Service plans to tests its anthrax-detection systems, removal and decontamination procedures.” (Union Tribune; 30Sep08) http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20080930-9999-1m30b2briefs.html
Fewer doses of anthrax vaccine protect just as well
“Giving fewer doses of the anthrax vaccine protects a person just as well from the bacteria that causes the disease, which could extend limited supplies of the shots, researchers said on Tuesday. […] ‘Depending on the data at the end of the study, we have the potential to halve the doses that a person needs to get,’ [said Conrad] Quinn [U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention], whose findings appear in the Journal of the American Medical Association […] The study also found that injecting the vaccine into the muscle of the upper arm rather than under the skin reduced side effects.” (Reuters; 30Sep08; Will Dunham) http://uk.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUKTRE48T8A420080930?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true
Drive-through flu shot clinics in October [Whitfield County, Georgia]
“Participants in an upcoming drive-through flu shot clinic by the Whitfield County Health Department not only will receive a free vaccination, they’ll also help several agencies drill for potential disasters. The health department will hold the drive-through clinic on Oct. 14 and 15 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center. […] ‘We’re doing this to try to prepare for bioterrorism or some kind of event,’ said Cheryl Christie, Whitfield County health department manager. The Dalton Police Department will assist with traffic control, Whitfield County Emergency Services will bring its mobile command center and the Dalton-Whitfield chapter of the American Red Cross will help as well.” (Daily Citizen; 29Sep08; Jamie Jones) http://www.northwestgeorgia.com/local/local_story_273185701.html
Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic Planned For November 7 at COC [College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, California]
“The City of Santa Clarita, the L.A. Department of Public Health and College of the Canyons along with the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire Departments, will be conducting a drive-through, flu shot clinic on Friday, November 7, 2008. […] [It] features the dispensing of flu shots without people generally having to leave the comfort of their cars. Flu shots are often provided to the public in anticipation of an active flu season but the event also serves a secondary purpose. This exercise will also test the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) response during a bioterrorism attack. The purpose of the CRI plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period. Under the plan, the drive thru clinic is called a rapid point of dispensing or POD.
College of the Canyons is a designated POD site for the bioterrorism plan.” (Santa Clarita Valley Nonprofit News Center; 29Sep08) http://www.scvtv.com/npnews/coc092908.html
[Blue Grass Army] Depot [Kentucky] to get up to $30 million in new funding
“Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that the U.S. Senate approved a resolution containing his requests for up to $30 million in additional funding for the Blue Grass Army Depot. The legislation is now on its way to the President George W. Bush for his signature. Sen. McConnell, R-Ky, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured the funds for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program at BGAD bringing the total funding level this year to approximately $430 million, representing the highest level of funding ever for ACWA. ‘This funding will help ensure that the Department of Defense complies with the 2017 deadline for the safe disposal of the chemical weapon stockpile at the Blue Grass Army Depot,’ McConnell said.” (Register News; 30Sep08; Bryan Marshall) http://www.richmondregister.com/localnews/local_story_274081215.html/resources_printstory
First UK prosecution highlights importance of chemical weapons convention
“Two chemical company directors, Colin Stott and Simon Knowles, were sentenced on 24 September following convictions for failing to notify the Government that their company produced more than one tonne of a chemical controlled under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). They were fined a total of £6750 and ordered to pay £8000 towards the prosecution's costs. Business Minister Malcolm Wicks said: ‘This is the first prosecution under the UK's Chemical Weapons Act and demonstrates just how seriously the UK takes its responsibilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention.’”
(eGov monitor; 30Sep08; source: BERR)
Mysterious cargo aboard Iranian ship seized by pirates raises WMD concerns
“As Somali pirates brazenly maintain their standoff with American warships off the coast of Africa, the cargo aboard one Iranian ship […] may contain materials that can be used for chemical or biological weapons. Some local officials suspect that […] the pirates encountered deadly chemical agents aboard the Iranian vessel. […] In the days following the hijacking, a number of them fell ill and died, suffering skin burns and hair loss, according to reports. […] ‘That ship is unusual,’ [Somali minister] Osman told the Long War Journal, an online news source that covers the War on Terror. ‘It is not carrying a normal shipment.’ The pirates reportedly were in talks to sell the ship back to Iran, but the deal fell through when the pirates were poisoned by the cargo […].” (Foxnews.com; 30Sep08; Joseph Abrams) http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,430681,00.html
Public health groups report emergency preparedness gains
“Four organizations that represent many of the nation's public health officials issued a report yesterday detailing how 6 years of federal funding has improved preparedness, though serious challenges remain, such as hiring and training lab workers and local preparedness planners. […] The report focuses on funding from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Public Health Emergency Program (PHEP), a cooperative grant program designed to help state and local public agencies build the capacity to respond to health emergencies such as pandemic influenza and bioterrorist attacks. […] Also, staffing and training enhancements have boosted the number of labs that can perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for bioterrorism agents and time-resolved fluorescence assays for toxins such as ricin. Improvements in disease surveillance infrastructure mean that 96% of states have round-the-clock communication links with hospitals, the report says.” (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy; 30Sep08) http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/panflu/news/sep3008prepared-br.html
Assistant Professor, International Security
George Mason University, Department of Public and International Affairs invites applicants for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with expertise in biosecurity for the fall of 2009. Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in political science, public policy, Public health or other relevant degree. Candidates should have excellent teaching and advising skills, as well as demonstrated potential for excellence in research, and an ability to seek outside research funding. The department is especially interested in candidates who can conduct research and teach graduate-level courses in the fields of biosecurity, biosurveillance, dual-use research oversight, global health security, and/or the security implications of infectious disease. Other interests in international law and organization, research methodology, globalization, Homeland Security or comparative politics are a plus. ABDs will be considered, but Ph.D. is strongly preferred.
The Department of Public and International Affairs has a core faculty of
42 and offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biodefense; bachelor's, M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science; and a master's of public administration. The candidate will be based in the department's Biodefense Graduate Program. The department is located on the Fairfax campus in Northern Virginia, 15 miles west of Washington, D.C., and offers classes at the Arlington and Prince William campuses as well. For more information, visit http://pia.gmu.edu.
Applicants must apply online and attach their letter of interest and a CV on the Web at http://jobs.gmu.edu/ for position F8845z. Additionally, applicants should also mail examples of research publications, an official university transcript, teaching evaluations or other evidence of teaching effectiveness, and three letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin on October 20, 2008.
Submit applications to Robert Dudley,
Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University, 3300 University Drive-MSN 3F4, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444.
George Mason University is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.
CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD Terrorism.