War on Terrorism

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- March 11, 2009

Tissue-cultured smallpox vaccine appears promising
“Administration of a tissue-cultured smallpox vaccine showed signs of an effective vaccine response with no serious adverse events, according to a study in the 11 March issue of JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association]. ‘The threat of smallpox bioterrorism has prompted reconsideration of the need for smallpox vaccination. Serious adverse events associated with first-generation vaccines […] have raised obstacles to vaccination campaigns in the United States,’ the authors write. […] ‘Developing a vaccine that is safer than first-generation vaccines yet highly immunogenic [producing immunity or an immune response] is crucial to constructing a prevention plan in the event of bioterrorist attack.’” Science Centric; 11Mar09; Source: Journal of the American Medical Association)

Tompkins County [NY] plans to use emergency funds in 2009
“In the face of declining revenue, County Administrator Joe Mareane announced Tuesday changes to the current budget […]. ‘Revenues on which the county relies […] are in decline,’ Mareane said in a prepared statement. ‘Expenditures tied to human service needs are poised to rise. The result is a structural imbalance that must be addressed, preferably in a manner that does not create abrupt shocks to the community and economy that could exacerbate the effects of the recession.’ […] Expected at the county Health Department is the loss of over $110,000 in funding for emergency preparedness, sometimes called the bioterrorism program.” (Ithaca Journal; 11Mar09; Tim Ashmore)

FDA [Food and Drug Administration] seeks rapid test to detect bacteria
“Frustrated that conventional lab methods can now take as long as nine days to identify the most common of food bugs, the FDA is searching for a rapid test for salmonella. […] Michael Doyle, head of the food-safety program at the University of Georgia, said the FDA should aim high. ‘To identify an outbreak can take two to three weeks; if they can get that down to three days, it would be a major step forward.’ The FDA has asked the Pentagon, the Homeland Security and Agriculture departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lend their expertise. The Agriculture Department and the CDC also contend with salmonella outbreaks. Homeland Security has responsibility for combating bioterrorism. And the Pentagon is skilled at evaluating all kinds of technology.” (Seattle Times; 11Mar09; Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; Source: Associated Press) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008838192_salmonella111.html

United States-the cattle herd shrinking
“‘The domestic cattle herd is shrinking,’ South Dakota Stockgrowers President Larry Nelson said Feb. 28 at a forum at the Tri-State Expo at the Belle Fourche Area Community Center. ‘We have to start thinking about food as a national security item,’ he added. […] ‘[W]hat if you breed some sort of a genetic problem?’ Environmentalists regularly promote genetic diversity in the wild, and Nelson said that’s important to protecting the food supply too. Concentration of the nation’s food supply in both location and genetics also makes the nation increasingly exposed to bioterrorism and natural disaster, Nelson said. The European Union already has taken steps to encourage diversity in Europe.” (Farming UK; 11Mar09) http://www.farminguk.com/news/United-States-The-Cattle-herd-shrinking.12943.asp

15,300 government workers have access to agents of bioterror
“Nationwide, about 390 labs are certified to work with microbes or toxin that might be used for bioterrorism, and 15,300 people have security clearances to work with these ‘select agents,’ reports a Congressional Research Service analysis. […] The CRS report offers options for increased oversight of select agent labs, noting an estimated 12-fold increase in BSL-4 labs, those holding the most dangerous bugs, since 2004. Options include certifying facilities, standardizing training, expanding the select agent list, and forbidding further lab construction. […] However, increased regulation may limit lab competitiveness and slow public health responses from labs, as well as add costs.” (USA Today; 11Mar09; Dan Vergano)

[Hamilton] County [OH] plans sites to deal with disease outbreaks
“[T]he Hamilton County [OH] General Health District […] [is] setting up community Point of Dispensing (POD) locations, [to prepare for] a countywide pandemic of something such as influenza or anthrax […]. [H]ealth officials have been working in consultation with local police and fire departments to set up the POD system. The points, to be used to dispense antibiotics or vaccines in the event of a mass outbreak of an infectious disease, are dispersed throughout the county to reduce travel and wait time for patients. General Health District spokeswoman Megan Hummel said authorities would rather not publicize POD locations for security reasons and because the locations could change.” (Cincinnati Enquirer; 10Mar09; Eric Bradley)

Key system for the future defence capability of the Nuclear Radiological Biological and Chemical (NRBC) segment of the French armed forces
“EADS Defence & Security [company] was notified end of January by the DGA (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) – the French defence procurement agency) of the contract for the production of the SAMOA (Système d’Alerte MObile Avancée – Advanced Mobile Alert System) lot of the DETECBIO V1 system. This € 35 million contract aims at providing the French Army with systems for detecting and identifying biological warfare agents in the environment, and thereby ensure the protection of the deployed forces and critical sites. The DETECBIO system consists of a network of environmental monitoring sensors, means of identifying biological agents, and an information and supervision system that can save lives and limit the reduction in operational capacity on the deployment site in the event of a biological attack.” (Defence Professionals; 10Mar09; Brigitte Faure) http://www.defpro.com/news/details/6058/

Newport Chemical Depot [IN] seeks cleanup equipment
“Officials at the Newport Chemical Depot in western Indiana are asking state officials for permission to install a large hot-air dryer to clean materials that may have come into contact with deadly nerve agent or the waste that remained after its destruction.Site manager Jeff Brubaker says exhaust from the dryer would be sent through carbon filters before being released into the atmosphere. Once the materials are cleaned, they will be packed into 55-gallon, lined drums and shipped to Port Authur, Texas, for final disposal. Brubaker expects about 100 drums will be filled with items like valves and personal safety suits. Destruction of the 275,000 gallons of VX nerve agent stored at Newport was completed last August.” (AP Texas News; 10Mar09; Source: Associated Press) http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/6302538.html

Experts put residents’ minds at rest over moor’s [chemical] dangers [UK]
“Residents living near a former RAF [Royal Air Force] base contaminated with chemical weapons have been reassured that the site is safe. Bowes Moor, near Bowes, County Durham [UK], was used by the RAF during the Second World War as a chemical weapons storage and disposal depot. After the war the site was cleaned up but an investigation completed in February 2008 showed there were still traces of harmful chemicals such as sulphur mustard, lead and arsenic. […] As a result of the study the Ministry of Defence launched a second, more thorough investigation into the 85- hectare site, which is used for sheep grazing. At a public meeting on Monday night, experts […] told residents of Bowes that while the investigations found increased levels of contamination in some areas, it wasn’t enough to pose a threat to the health of humans, livestock or wildlife.” (Northern Echo; 10Mar09; Will Roberts) http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4193109.Experts_put_residents____minds_at_rest_over_moor___s_dangers/

Suspicious package at Colorado Springs [CO] nightclub
Colorado Springs Police were called out Tuesday evening to Club Q on North Academy Blvd. to investigate a suspicious package. When officers arrived, the business owner said an employee found an envelope at the front door of the business. The person/suspect that left the envelope had written on the exterior of the envelope that it contained anthrax. A Bomb Tech Officer determined that the envelop was a hoax device, and it did not contain anything harmful. Police arrested 35 year old Matthew Bailey.”
(KKTV; 10Mar09)

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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