CMA launches statewide anthrax education initiative

SAN FRANCISCO: The California Medical Association (CMA) is

spearheading a statewide initiative to educate doctors, media, and the

public about anthrax, and to organize communication in case of a

bioterrorism attack.

"Our role is to make sure that all physicians in California are

prepared, and that every area has a disaster plan in place," said CMA

spokesperson Ron Lopp.

The CMA is asking broadcast stations to partner with the organization to

produce PSAs featuring doctors explaining the risks of anthrax and the

dangers of stockpiling antibiotics.

The organization's three-person media department is also closely

monitoring all anthrax-related press, and contacting journalists to

correct mistakes that could increase public fears.

A statewide plan aimed at creating a "universal, single approach" to an

attack was also announced. That plan will create a communication path

between doctors, county health officials, local government, and state

health groups. Part of that effort is the creation of a web-based

"bioterrorism resource center" that will act as a source of information

on regional initiatives.

The association also announced two educational campaigns for medical

professionals. The first is a day-long seminar to be held in both

Northern and Southern California that will explain how to treat the

disease, how to spot multiple cases, and encourage doctors to refuse

Cipro prescriptions - the favored treatment for anthrax - unless

medically necessary.

The second campaign is a continuing medical education effort that offers

bioterrorism seminars around the state. State doctors will also receive

e-mails and letters asking them to enroll in emergency response


The CMA, funded solely by members' dues, has not set aside special funds

for the projects, and will do all work in-house.

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