Indiana University develops

Published 30 November 2005

In the 1950s, it was guides to surviving a nuclear attack. Today, it’s bioterrorism. Junior and senior college students in a history of public health class at Indiana University, under the supervision of history professor James Riley, have developed a 63-page citizen’s survival guide that lays out simple instructions for recognizing a biological attack and taking appropriate steps to respond on a personal level. The guide identifies the diseases and toxins deemed by the authors to be the most likely threats, including anthrax, smallpox, encephalitis, VX nerve gas and mustard gas. It lays out likely targets, such as mass transit systems, shopping malls and sports arenas, and describes signs of an attack, symptoms, steps to isolate an agent or oneself, immediate treatment, and fatality rates for specific threats.

Copies of “Bioterrorism and Me” were distributed to the Indiana Department of Health, some state public health officials, and emergency management agency directors in every county in the state. After some fire departments received copies of the pamphlet, demand raged on to others. “They took a complex issue and made it understandable for anybody. They even talk about VX nerve gas …There’s nothing out there as concise, and it has validity,” said Paul Goss, director of emergency management for Daviess County, about 100 miles northwest of Louisville.

-access the guide here or read the report here