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ALERT -- Marine Corps holds pandemic outbreak drill...

(by Adelina Colbert, JDNews.com) -- Marine Corps Air Station New River on Wednesday held a full-scale pandemic outbreak drill where health officials and Marines responded to a smallpox outbreak that “occurred” aboard the installation. 

According to Lt. Joseph Kotora, the public health emergency officer for Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, the Exercise Vigilant Response drill was the first of its kind at a military installation in North Carolina. 

“The drills are usually conducted annually or semi-annually,” said Kotora. “A drill this size has never been conducted, so this is the largest pandemic exercise to my knowledge.” 

Officials decided to incorporate administering inoculations during the exercise so that it would more accurately portray an outbreak situation where medical personnel would be required to screen and administer vaccinations.

During the exercise, Marines from various squadrons aboard the station formed single file lines and filled out forms before getting their body temperatures taken by Navy corpsmen. From there, each Marine enters the building also known as the Point of Dispersion, or POD, where flu shots were given out.

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