Smallpox Threat Taken Seriously in the Heartland - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Smallpox Threat Taken Seriously in the Heartland

Health professionals are preparing for a virus wiped out more than 20 years ago, after the government says terrorists could use smallpox in a bio terrorism attack.

Leaders at the Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah say they have been training their employees for a possible attack the last couple of years.

"We have to be ready for any disaster. Bio terrorism, chemical agent or nuclear agent," Infection Control Practitioner Christine Nutty said.

Hospital leaders were part of a teleconference today with other health leaders around the State of Kentucky. According to President Bush, the military will be the first receive the smallpox vaccine. After that, it will be health care providers. The hospital expects the voluntary vaccines to be available sometime in 2003. The vaccines will be available to the public in 2004.

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