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Acute psychological effects of suspected bioterrorism
  1. B W Mason1,
  2. R A Lyons2
  1. 1Public Health Laboratory Service, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales), Cardiff, UK
  2. 2University of Wales College of Medicine, The Swansea Clinical School, Swansea, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B Mason, Public Health Laboratory Service, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (Wales), Abton House, Wedal Road, Cardiff CF14 3QX, UK;

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It has been suggested that the psychological implications of chemical and biological weapons may be more serious than any potential acute physical effects.1 We report an investigation into the acute psychological effects of exposure to packages suspected of containing anthrax spores.


In October 2001 13 people were exposed to packages suspected of containing anthrax spores in two separate incidents in government offices in South Wales. The management of both incidents was based on the local health authority’s major incident procedure and emergency response plan for chemical incidents. The multi-agency response included evacuation and establishment of a cordon around the area where the packages were handled by the police; removal of the suspect packages by the fire service and submission to the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research for testing; full decontamination of the exposed individuals by the ambulance service using a mobile chemical decontamination …

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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