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Report Finds U.S. Poorly Prepared For Bioterrorism

October 12, 2011
by Katherine Hobson
Wall Street Journal

The scenario laid out by the movie “Contagion,” about an outbreak of a new virus, was scary enough.

But while “naturally occurring disease remains a serious threat, a thinking enemy armed with these same pathogens, or with multi-drug-resistant or synthetically engineered pathogens could produce catastrophic consequences.”

So says a new report from the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center that finds the U.S. woefully unprepared to deal with many aspects of different bioterrorism scenarios. The WMD Center is a not-for-profit research and education organization.

It urges the government to focus on improving its ability to detect and deal with large-scale events, both of contagious and non-contagious pathogens. Specifically, it recommends focusing on aspects of the response that now earn a “D” grade: detection and diagnosis; improving the development, approval, availability and dispensing of medical countermeasures; and improving the capability to medically manage an incident.

 

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