A large-scale bioterrorism countermeasure delivery exercise called “Operation Medicine Delivery” is scheduled for May 6, 2012 in the Minnesota Twin Cities metro area. The U.S. Postal Service will again test its ability to deliver antibiotics to potential bioterror victims at their homes.
The exercise, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), is the largest of its kind and builds on smaller scale simulations in Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle. Over 300 mail delivery workers will distribute empty drug containers to the homes of nearly 40,000 residents in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Robbinsdale and Golden Valley. The Minnesota Health Department is spearheading the local efforts with the USPS.
The results of the exercise will help determine the functionality of bioterrorism countermeasure home delivery during a major crisis. Antibiotics would primarily be dispensed at fixed locations following an incident, but authorities are looking for a means to reach those unable to leave their homes. The overall goal is to deliver preventive doses of medication to most people within the first 48 hours of any bioterror attack or infectious disease outbreak.