A SPOKANE LAB -- THAT TESTS FOR ANTHRAX AND RICIN
-- IS NOW IN DANGER OF CLOSING.
IT'S ONE OF JUST TWO BIO-TERRORISM LABS IN THE STATE.
OFFICIALS SAY IT'S SOMETHING WE CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE.
KXLY4'S KYLEE CRUZ IS WORKING FOR YOU TONIGHT ON WHAT
THIS LAB DOES FOR EASTERN WASHINGTON, AND - WHAT WOULD
HAPPEN IF IT CLOSED.
IF THE BIO-TERRORISM LAB AT THE SPOKANE HEALTH DISTRICT
THE ONLY OTHER ONE IN THE STATE.
IS IN SHORELINE.
THAT'S ABOUT 300 MILES AWAY.
HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY IN A CRITICAL SITUATION.
THAT'S JUST TOO FAR.
INSIDE EASTERN WASHINGTON'S BIO-TERRORISM LAB...
you can see this is a positive sample
KARIE BROUILLARD IS HARD AT WORK.
i am the person who tests specim that come in
SHE'S BEEN HERE SINCE THE LAB OPENED -- 10 YEARS AGO.
it is high stress when you are testing.
knowing it is such a critical result that you have
and people are waiting
ANY BIG THREAT IN SPOKANE -- SHE'S TEST IT!
LIKE THE SUSPICIOUS BACKPACK FOUND AT THE MLK PARADE
IN 2011 AND THE RICIN-LACED LETTERS SENT TO THE POST
OFFICE AND A SPOKANE JUDGE.
i really feel we have had enough events in spokane,
to really justify the location of a labatory here
and turn-around time, could be the difference between
getting people treated as fast as possible
IT'S NOT JUST THE HIGH PROFILE CASES WE HEAR ABOUT,
BUT THE TESTS THAT COME BACK NEGATIVE THAT JUSTIFY
KEEPING THE LAB.
IF SAMPES AREN'T TESTED HERE.
IT COULD TAKE HOURS, OR UP TO A DAY, TO SEND IT TO
THE STATE'S ONLY OTHER BIO-TERRORISM LAB -- IN SHORELINE.
what i worry about is during the winter, when the
passes are closed, turning to get the samples to the
BUT AS OF NOW.
THAT WILL BE THE ONLY OPTION.
we've seen public health funding do down and down
FUNDING FROM THIS LAB HAS DWINLDED SINCE 2011.
AND NOW -- IT'S GONE.
THE HEALTH DISTRICT'S BOARD RECENTLY VOTED TO TEMPORAILY
FUND THE LAB.
BUT THAT'S ONLY THROUGH 2014.
KARIE DOESN'T WANT TO HANG UP HER LAB COAT YET.
SHE LOVES HER JOB AND THE WORK SHE DOES.
i believe it's important for the community, and also
i really enjoy micro-biology
THE LAB ALSO TESTS FOR THE FLU -- THAT TESTING WOULD
ALSO GO AWAY.
THE HEALTH DISTRICT NEEDS 150-THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH
YEAR TO FUND THE LAB -- THAT PAYS FOR STAFFING AND
IF LONG-TERM FUNDING CAN'T BE SECURED IN THE COMING
THIS FACILITY WILL CLOSE AT THE END OF THIS YEAR.
KYLEE CRUZ, KXLY4 NEWS