"Bioterrorism Would Overwhelm US Medical Systems"
Reuters Health Information Services (www.reutershealth.com) (11/29/00)
Attendees at the second National Symposium on Bioterrorism said that U.S.
public health and medical systems could be easily overwhelmed by a
biological attack, despite the major advancements that the federal government has made
in addressing bioterrorism. Such an attack would first show up in the health
care system, said Health Technology Networks CEO Dr. George Poste, but health
professionals have rarely or never seen cases of most biological agent
diseases. In the case of a bioterrorism outbreak, the infectious agents must
be quickly identified, and experts said that the nation's public health and
medical systems are not well-prepared to detect and contain an attack. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working closely with
states to enhance surveillance efforts, and the agency has also contracted with a
Massachusetts company to develop 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine; in
addition, the CDC has created a quick-response system to get large
of medicines, vaccines, and supplies to anywhere in the nation within 12