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In September 2009, senior law enforcement officials, health care professionals and experts from international organizations joined their forces to confront a chilling crisis – the plague had just been unleashed on their countries by unknown evildoers.
Organized by the INTERPOL Bioterrorism Unit, this third edition of the event took place from 29-30 September in Warsaw, Poland. Participants in the workshop numbered 27 from six Central and Eastern European countries (Belarus, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine), as well as 15 participants from international organizations such as Europol, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Centre for Disease Control, the European Commission (Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs and Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The tabletop exercise is the latest in a series of initiatives launched by INTERPOL since the creation of its Bioterrorism Prevention programme. INTERPOL has worked ceaselessly since 2005 to heighten its member countries’ awareness of the dangers of bioterrorism and to enhance their preparedness for a bioterrorist attack. The Bioterrorism Prevention Programme has co-ordinated a series of events, starting with the Global Conference on Preventing Bioterrorism in March 2005; regional workshops in Africa, South America, Europe and Asia; train-the-trainer sessions all over the world; and practical tabletop exercises such as the one outlined above.
Bacteria used in an aerosol attack could cause cases of pneumonic plague
The US and Swiss governments co-hosted an International Bioterrorism Response Coordination Exercise (called "Black ICE II") in Montreux, Switzerland, on September 7-8, the Swiss Foreign Minsitry announced on Wednesday.
The exercise challenged participants with a fictional attack scenario involving pneumonic plague. The scenario is not based on real-world threat information and is not meant to indicate that this particular type of attack is likely.