Case study

Biological incident: Smailholm Scotland

The UK Government Decontamination Service's (GDS) assistance in a biological incident.

Smailholm Village Hall during the decontamination process

The UK Government Decontamination Service (GDS) was called in by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) when it was discovered that a death was attributable to inhalation of Anthrax. GDS became part of a multi-agency response to deal with this incident.

We were able to assist with sampling using a specialist supplier on the GDS Framework. When the sampling confirmed that decontamination was necessary, we were able to supply scientific information and advice on the decontamination options available. HPS decided that chlorine dioxide gas should be used.

Smailholm Village Hall was covered by a large tented structure and chlorine dioxide gas was then pumped into the building. GDS was able to advise and facilitate the disposal of the waste product (salt water which was a by-product produced in the decontamination).

Biological indicators were placed in the building before decontamination. After decontamination these were sent to a laboratory for analysis, no observable growth indicated that the gas had penetrated all areas of the building. The building was sampled again to confirm that it was now safe to use.

Published 2 September 2014