Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Risk lessened

The procedures that were implemented after the 2001 anthrax attacks helped to lessen risk during the recent ricin attack:

Procedures put in place after the anthrax attacks two years ago helped speed the emergency response when the lethal toxin ricin was found in the Dirksen offices of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) Monday.

[...]

“We’ve come a long way since anthrax,” said Frist. “Things are going very well — not perfectly, but very, very well.” Frist told reporters at a televised midafternoon news conference that none of the 16 staff members who were quarantined after the ricin was discovered had shown any harmful health effects. Those effects usually show up in four to eight hours.

Frist credited special filters that were installed throughout the ventilation systems of Capitol buildings with helping to mitigate the problems and hasten the response. The filters can be checked almost instantaneously, and none of those filters tested positive for ricin — giving Capitol officials additional confidence that the toxin had not
spread.


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