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State Leads in Bioterror Precautions

December 14, 2004
by Robyn Shelton
Orlando Sentinel

No state is better prepared than Florida to detect and contain the deadly viruses, bacteria or toxins of a bioterrorist, according to a nationwide analysis released Tuesday. Florida and North Carolina scored highest in the country by meeting nine of 10 readiness criteria, according to the Trust for America's Health, a nonpartisan research group. But the organization warned that Florida is the exception -- most states are struggling with "major areas of vulnerability that leave Americans at risk." Many lack the resources to handle routine threats, such as a bad flu season, let alone the potential devastation of an intentional smallpox or plague outbreak, the report concluded.

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