South Health District holds mock smallpox clinic - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Health District holds mock smallpox clinic

Nurse Brenda Mims Nurse Brenda Mims

July 22, 2003

Valdosta - The South Health District wants to make sure all of its medical personnel is prepared for a smallpox outbreak. They're gearing up for the possible bio terrorism attack with their mock smallpox clinic.

Ronda Cross-Scott says it wasn't too bad. "It didn't hurt, just a few little stings," said Cross-Scott.

It's not the real thing she received more than two decades ago, but it's preparing public health officials for an outbreak of smallpox. "We want the community to know that if an outbreak was to occur, Lowndes County public health is prepared," said Michael Terwilliger, Bio terrorism Coordinator.

The patients aren't actually injected with the smallpox vaccination, it's only a saline solution. But the needles and all other parts of the procedure are real. "Everything is as real as possible, besides the needle," said Brenda Mims, Nurse. "The patients go through all the real paperwork, are taught how to treat their wounds, and can be screened out at any part of the check-in process."

If we received the actual vaccination, the point of injection would eventually scab over and leave a scar like. But the mock vaccination barely leaves a mark.

"It's just a matter of barely breaking the skin with what we call a bifurcated needle," said Terwilliger.

Public health officials say we're not at an immediate threat for a smallpox outbreak, but if it happens, they assure us they're prepared.

posted at 3:35 by ashley.harper@walb.com