War on Terrorism

Monday, February 16, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- February 16, 2009

More Ohio parents refusing vaccines for their kids
“Nicole Hertel recently took her son Damien to his 15-month checkup, but she refused […] to have him vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella . Her pediatrician was not pleased. The Hertels are among a small but growing number of parents so worried about vaccine safety that they are delaying or rejecting immunizations. In particular, the Hebron couple fears that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine could cause autism, a developmental disability that affects the ability to interact socially and communicate. […] Major medical organizations and government agencies […] are united in saying science does not support a link between vaccines and autism. But some parents […] are turning away from vaccines.That's raising concerns among doctors that vaccine-preventable illnesses could make a comeback. (Mansfield News Journal; 16Feb09; Source: Cinncinati.com) http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20090216/UPDATES01/90216020

Studies show little merit in airport temperature screening for disease
“Using temperature scanners in airports to try to identify and block entry of sick travelers during a disease outbreak is unlikely to achieve the desired goal, a report by French public health officials suggests. Their analysis, based on a review of studies on temperature screening efforts like those instituted during the 2003 SARS outbreak, says the programs may be of limited use in the early days of a flu pandemic, when governments might be tempted to order screening of incoming travelers to try to delay introduction of the illness within their borders. The authors, from France’s Health Watch Institute, said the available scientific data suggests there is little benefit to airport temperature screening when the incidence of disease is low, as it was with SARS and as it would be expected to be in the very early days of a pandemic.” (Fort Frances Times; 16Feb09; Helen Branswell) http://fftimes.com/node/219820

Public hearing on the Salt Plains [OK] crystal digging [where blister agent was found]
“A public hearing has been scheduled for March 3 in Cherokee [OK] to discuss the future of the crystal digging area at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, which has been closed since spring 2007. […] About 134 vials of blistering solutions used in chemical warfare training kits have been unearthed […], along with incendiary devices apparently used in an attempt to destroy them. The purpose of the Corps of Engineers’ remedial investigation and feasibility study was to determine if any more chemical warfare training kits or munitions remain at the site and assess the risk.” (The Enid News and Eagle; 13Feb09; Kasey Fowler) http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_045001623.html

Into the hot zone [toxic agent training] [AL]
“Eleven officials from area health and emergency response agencies took part in hands-on weapons of mass destruction training and pandemic influenza planning and preparedness courses at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Ala. […] The weapons of mass destruction training was a 16-hour course with hands-on exercises. Individuals had to perform triage and decontamination procedures and identify contamination using survey equipment. They actually had to suit up and enter a hot zone in a toxic agent training facility. ‘The training is incredible,’ said [public safety coordinator for the Defiance County Public Safety Office Julie] Rittenhouse. ‘You go out and there is a field full of bodies. You have to triage them, then lift them up and take them through decontamination and then run equipment out into the field to see what agent they have been exposed to.’ Participants were exposed in a controlled environment at the site to nerve agents such as Sarin and VX as well as blistering agents.” (Crescent News; 15Feb09; Lisa Nicely)

Blue Grass [Depot, KY] chemical activity: successful inspection, again

“Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based in The Netherlands arrived on site Monday, Feb. 2, for a four-day inspection to determine how safely and efficiently the chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot are being cared for. […] ‘It was a good inspection,’ stated Deborah Boston, the Depot Treaty compliance officer. ‘I was greatly impressed by the professionalism and the courtesy of the international inspectors.’ Every past inspection showed that Blue Grass Army Depot was in full compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. […] The OPCW is only in charge of making sure all the chemical weapons being stored at the depot are accounted for and in their proper locations.” (The Richmond Register; 15Feb09; Ronica Shannon) http://www.richmondregister.com/localnews/local_story_045164358.html

Better artificial nose inspired by sniffer dogs [to detect biological or chemical agents]
“For the sensitive work of detecting explosives and drugs in airports and other high-risk areas, humans have long relied on […] the sniffer dog. […] [R]esearchers have recently developed a variety of chemical sensing technologies, or artificial noses. […] A few years ago, with funding from the Office of Naval Research, Eric Paterson, a senior research associate at Penn State’s Applied Research Lab […] decided to go back to the source [with the RealNose project]. As Paterson explains, the RealNose project is a typical ‘DARPA-hard’ program: high-risk, high-payoff. Should marketable technology evolve from the research, however, it could be tailored to sniff out drugs, explosives, chemical and biological weapons, and even certain types of cancer.” (Science Daily; 15Feb09; Source: Penn State) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213172533.htm

Veterinarians train to treat humans in disaster
“The American Medical Association [AMA] agrees [that] medical professionals - pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians - could lend valuable expertise and manpower when an inevitable man-made disaster strikes. Building on a 2003 disaster response manual for doctors and paramedics that the University of Georgia helped write, the AMA now is preparing other medical professionals to deal with the fallout of nuclear radiation or a biological agent. A group of 100 veterinarians gathered at UGA's Center for Continuing Education this weekend for basic disaster response training, and to learn how to begin to assess and protect the food supply in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.” (Athens Banner Herald; 15Feb09; Allison Floyd) http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021609/uga_388303989.shtml

Man [Ted Hubicki] charged in FAU [Florida Atlantic University] anthrax hoax
“A Daytona Beach man who was disgruntled with the federal government was charged Thursday in connection with an anthrax hoax at Florida Atlantic University in November. Ted Hubicki, 58, who authorities describe as incoherent and unstable, admitted he sent a letter to the university's personnel department because he claimed that the university makes anthrax. […] FAU police charged Hubicki with possessing and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction or hoax weapon.” (Palm Beach Post; 13Feb09; Christina DeNardo) http://www.palmbeachpost.com/localnews/content/local_news/epaper/2009/02/13/0213fauhoax.html

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.

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