The state plans to test its ability to react to a disease outbreak today with a drill in a Des Moines suburb. Iowa Department of Public Health spokesman Kevin Teale says the drill will test the state’s ability to rapidly inoculate large numbers of people.He says 300 public health volunteers will play the role of patients. They’ll come into a clinic, get screened, get medication, and then go home. Teale says the drill gives them a real time look at their disaster plan. Teale says it lets them see if the plan they have on paper actually works, and where there are flaws that need to be fixed. He says it will also let them see how many people they can handle in real life. Teale says the state plan is part of the national plan to get states ready for potential disease outbreaks. Teale says it can handle things like meningitis, smallpox or even for SARS if there were a SARS vaccine and an outbreak in Iowa that required the vaccination of a large number of people. Teale says the drill will help state and local officials. He says the volunteer health professionals will take part in the drill and also be able to see what the set-up for the clinic looks like, so they know how to set somthing up in their home area if needed. The drill begins at one o’clock today at the Des Moines Christian School Campus in Urbandale.
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