State official asks people to help watch for potential bioterrorism

Bismarck, ND – A disease specialist from the state Health Department says North Dakotans should be more vigilant about sudden outbreaks of disease -- because of the possibility of bioterrorism.

Larry Shireley spoke to a State Agriculture department meeting. He says the state is working on its planning efforts to deal with the potential of someone using an infectious disease or deadly chemical as a weapon. He says people can help by keeping their eyes open.

"If there are suspicious activities -- if there are unattended packages that look strange, whatever -- we encourage people to call and contact the local law enforcement for those type of things. And I think, maybe, the September 11th issue has prompted more people to say, 'Gee, you know, I need to be aware of what's going on in my community.' And that's what we would encourage."

Shireley says if there is a bioterrorism act that involves disease, it may be days before officials know such an attack occurred. So he says vigilance is important.