"Coping With An Anthrax Attack: What Would A City Do?" by Reut Cohen for Neon Tommy, April 26, 2012:
The investigation following the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US is referred to by the FBI as “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.” One week after the grisly attacks on 9/11, letters containing anthrax spores reached the offices of two U.S. senators and several news media offices. Besides the subsequent fear—understandable considering the nation saw itself at war—the attacks claimed lives. At least 22 people were infected. Five died from inhaling anthrax.Read it all here.
Could it happen again? And is a city, like Seattle, prepared for such a calamity—especially if an attack occurs on a larger scale? While culturing large quantities of anthrax spores is complicated, many nations have the capacity for doing so. That makes it a feared biological weapon.
Using Seattle as a focal point, University of Southern California researchers at the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) assessed the some of the consequences of a large-scale anthrax attack. Various visual scenarios examined psychological and economic impacts of hundreds of Seattle residents who participated in the study. The project, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, focused on perceptions of risk, awareness of individuals’ health, and livelihood objectives following the uncertainty of a terror attack in a situation where an anthrax attack claims the lives of 50,000 in a metropolitan city. It examines what government can do to make a difference in terms of whether people move back or pursue their lives in a different location following such an attack.
“The way we did this is by using the Department of Homeland Security’s national planning scenarios of an anthrax attack,” said Heather Rosoff, a post doctoral research associate at CREATE. “What we did is we took the language of the scenario and developed it further into short videos segments starting with the initial attack and extending out over a two year period.”