U.S. Bioterror Plans Ripped

October 12, 2003
by Brian Kates
New York Daily News

As scientists battle the fast-spreading West Nile virus, anti-terrorism experts hope that developing a network to track and stop the epidemic will provide an early warning system for defense against biological attack. But right now, the U.S. "is totally unprepared to deal with new vector-borne epidemics" - like West Nile virus or those spread by more lethal germs in the terrorist inventory, said Duane Gubler, an internationally recognized expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...Four years after the U.S. outbreak, the battle against West Nile remains hamstrung by "bureaucratic jurisdictions that respond to various aspects of the diseases, with little coordination and no clear plan for communicating with the public," according to a study this year by the Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit research group. "This is especially troublesome," the report said, "given that many of the potential agents for biological weapons are zoonotic" - that is, they originate in animals and spread to humans.

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