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U.S. Responds Poorly to Animal-Borne Ills, Report Finds

August 6, 2003
by Robyn Suriano
Orlando Sentinel

America is woefully unprepared to deal with animal-borne infections -- such as SARS, monkeypox and mad-cow disease -- relying on a multitude of agencies to curb outbreaks but giving none the clout to do what is needed. A report issued Tuesday said the agencies end up tripping over one another while reacting to the latest crisis, yet do little to prevent animal diseases from spreading to people in the first place. "We have failed as a nation to strategically combat these serious health threats, leaving us vulnerable to new and emerging" diseases, according to the report from Trust for America's Health, a Washington, D.C.-based group. "We pour resources into the latest disease outbreak with few plans for addressing [these diseases] from the broader perspective they require. . . . These gaps needlessly leave Americans, their families, and communities at risk."

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