Base partners with New Mexico for disease containment exercise

An Air Commando assigned to the 27th Special Operations Wing conducts entry authorization procedures during a base-wide disease containment exercise April 8, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This statewide exercise is conducted every five years, every two for the Air Force, and aids in the training of health agencies to properly prepare for and respond to potential public health emergencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

An Air Commando assigned to the 27th Special Operations Wing conducts entry authorization procedures during a base-wide disease containment exercise April 8, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. This statewide exercise is conducted every five years, every two for the Air Force, and aids in the training of health agencies to properly prepare for and respond to potential public health emergencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Members of the 27th Special Operations Wing partnered with several other state agencies to participate in the 2016 Spring Fever, April 5-9, a disease containment exercise.

This statewide exercise is conducted every five years, every two for the Air Force, and aids in the training of health agencies to properly prepare for and respond to potential public health emergencies.

The scenario for Cannon: a pneumonic plague outbreak.

Air Commandos were run through a point-of-distribution after being notified of staged exposure and were provided with simulated medication to mitigate the disease.

As a small thank you for the participants’ willing cooperation, medical professional did not use this opportunity to vaccinate base players, but instead distributed 100 mg of various bite-sized candies.

"We are proud to be one of two Air Force installations within the Department of Defense in New Mexico that participated at the level we did for this type of exercise," said Maj. Jessica Dees, 27th Special Operations Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health flight commander. "We practiced the public health response to an outbreak; the objective for this was the request for strategic national stockpile assets from the Centers for Disease Control and mass distribution to affected areas within New Mexico."

Cannon began preparation for this exercise last July, ensuring a level of preparation to match the potential severity of this type of threat to the installation, and its people and mission.