Shreveport—The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will host a full-scale bioterrorism preparedness drill in the Shreveport area this week. Different activities involved in the drill will take place at the OPH Regional Office in Shreveport and other locations throughout the region.

The goal of this exercise is to improve the region’s preparedness for an event involving the use of a biological weapon of mass destruction. It also will work to foster partnerships, planning activities and coordination efforts among local emergency response agencies within the nine-parish area. The drill will test the current strengths and weaknesses in response actions, reporting abilities and communications systems of the area. Members of the state’s Bioterrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response Unit will be at the drill to give guidance and feedback.

The news media is invited to attend Thursday’s exercises from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. State and local public health officials, as well as local officials from law enforcement, emergency response and local hospitals, will be on hand for interviews and video/photographs will be permitted at that time. For additional information, contact Melissa Walker at (225) 763-3558.

What:    Full-Scale Bioterrorism Preparedness Drill media briefing

When:    Thursday, March 18, 2003, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Where:   Bossier Parish Health Unit
                3022 Old Minden Road
               Bossier City, Louisiana