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Fargo city officials discuss safety precautions regarding bioterrorism

By Tracy Fugere

Fargo, ND – Fargo city officials met Monday night at Fargo City Hall to inform the public on what safety precautions to take regarding the antrax scare and terrorism.

Fargo Police Chief Chris Magnus says that to date--there have been no cases of anyone in North Dakota or Minnesota being exposed to or infected by anthrax.

"It's a credit to our community that we've had no hoaxes or incidents of criminal nature involving suspicious substances being sent or received through the mail so far. I should mention that both Minnesota and North Dakota law enforcement agencies will treat any incident of this type as a very serious matter. And that even pranks could result in criminal prosecution."

Fargo-Cass Public Health Director Mary Kay Hermann says presently a committee of health care providers are meeting to work on a coordinated plan for monitoring illness.

"We're doing an assessment of the resources available in our community that would be the pharmacutical resources, the hospital beds available, and the supplies available that we would need to address issues that pertain to our population. We're planning for how we would handle a mass distribution of medications for both prevention and for treatment. We're looking at how we would handle casualties and fatalities and we're continuing to work on our ongoing surveillance."

Herrmann says health care providers do not recommend that you go out and get antibiotics to take to protect yourself. She says medications have side effects and taking medication without a valid medical reason may cause bacteria to become resistent to an antibiotic which may lead to the antibiotic not working for you in the future if you need it to fight off an infection.