RealNews

City to monitor events for dangerous toxins

City officials say Honolulu isn’t a likely target for biological or chemical attack, but with stationary and handheld air sampling monitors, the city is well-equipped to identify dangerous toxins. During a spate of anthrax scares following Sept. 11, the city purchased six stationary air monitors and a dozen hand-held field-testing kits, as well as a mobile DNA lab that can quickly identify anthrax, plague, botulism toxin and other deadly agents. The stationary monitors have been placed at five heavily populated locations on O’ahu, while plainclothes city personnel will be carrying the hand-held monitors at major events, such as those at Aloha Stadium, the Waikiki Shell and Blaisdell Arena. For security reasons, the city has declined to identify the exact locations of the fixed monitors. City Emergency Medical Services Director Salvatore Lanzilotti said his staff will meet weekly to determine which gatherings the city will monitor, taking into account the event’s size, location and who will be there. On-site testing enables the city to begin treating people who had been exposed to a toxin before they show symptoms and require hospitalization. Full Story

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