- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (AP) - Marines at the Air Station New River have practiced what to do in the event of a smallpox outbreak.

The Daily News of Jacksonville reported (https://bit.ly/1Ey1Xbk) the exercise for a pandemic outbreak was conducted Wednesday.

Lt. Joseph Kotora said the drills are usually conducted once or twice a year.

“A drill this size has never been conducted, so this is the largest pandemic exercise to my knowledge,” said Kotora, the public health emergency officer for Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.

Officials administered inoculations during the exercise so it would more accurately portray an outbreak situation where medical personnel would be required to screen and give vaccinations. The Marines had their temperatures checked and then were given flu shots as part of the exercise.

Kotora said the exercise tested the ability to respond to a pandemic or biological threat.

Officials had been planning the drill for nine months and it was not specifically designed to focus on the Ebola virus.

“It’s kind of coincidental that Ebola is a topic in the headlines right now,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Adams, executive officer for the air station.

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Information from: The Daily News, https://www.jdnews.com

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