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British expert: Epidemic diseases pose greater peril than terrorism

LONDON (AP) _ A British university opened a center Wednesday to develop plans for British and European responses to major disasters such as terrorist attacks, but the director said epidemic diseases pose greater danger.

Ivar Hellberg, the director of the Resilience Center at Cranfield University in central England, said the threat from terrorism was comparatively small and cited Spanish flu as an epidemic disease that could represent greater peril.

``These other things are really much more likely,'' said Hellberg. ``We've really got to tackle those as well and not be preoccupied by terrorism.''

The center will study ways to protect against chemical, biological or nuclear attacks, and investigate the capacity of governments and businesses to respond.''

The center opened a few days after the British government began mailing out a booklet to homes instructing the public how to prepare for an emergency and its aftermath.

Hellberg urged the public to see the possibility of an attack in proportion. ``The most important thing is not to be alarmed by all this,'' he said.
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