Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2000
Contact: Dave Nelson
(512) 463-0112

TEXAS MUST PREPARE AGAINST BIOTERRORISM, NELSON SAYS

DALLAS -- In the wake of two anthrax hoaxes in her senate district in just two years, Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, is taking steps to assess Texas' readiness for an actual bioterrorist attack.

Last week, a Lewisville man was arrested on charges that he threatened the public with anthrax through the mail. The arrest comes about two years after postal workers at a bulk mail center in Coppell discovered a vial labeled: "You have just been contaminated by anthrax."

"Even though these threats turned out to be false, it's chilling to think that there are people out there who apparently get their thrills by terrorizing the general public with deadly biogenetic material. And unfortunately, we've seen too many acts of random violence to write these threats off as the rants of troublemakers," Senator Nelson said.

The Senate Health Services Committee, chaired by Senator Nelson, today listened to testimony about the efforts of our local medical community to prepare for the kind of medical response a biogenetic outbreak or act of bioterrorism would require. The testimony came as part of the Committee's interim charge dealing with biotechnology and biogenetics during a special North Texas public hearing at University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.

"Our committee is in a perfect position to work with our hospitals, our public health agencies and our best minds in the field of biogenetics to ensure that Texas is prepared for an act of bioterrorism," Senator Nelson said.

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes parts of Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant counties.

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