Is St. Louis Ready For Possible Retaliation For U.S. Action In Syria?

Sep 3, 2013

With the likelihood of a U.S. strike on Syria, some are saying the country may come under a terrorist attack in retaliation. What kind of attack could take place, and how ready is St. Louis to weather it?

Host Don Marsh sat down with Nick Gragnani and Dr. Alexander Garza to find out. Gragnani is the executive director of St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS). Garza is the former assistant secretary of health affairs and chief medical officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the current associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of epidemiology at Saint Louis University.

Both Gragnani and Garza agreed that the possibility of a terrorist attack is always there, but St. Louis is for the most part prepared to respond.

St. Louis has been preparing for a terrorist attack since STARRS began in 2003, added Gragnani.

While a more traditional bombing or explosive is certainly a concern, the possibility of an emerging infectious disease has the greatest potential of causing a devastating level of impact, said Garza.

"Emerging infectious disease really plays no favorites," said Garza. "Usually with a terrorist attack, it's one or two or maybe three sites that get hit. The event happens, it's over, we can respond to it. We can take care of the people that were affected. But if H1N1 taught us anything, this is going to be a widespread, global problem."

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.