Complexity Digest 2003.28 - 19.01
Bioterrorism Defense Priorities, Science
Excerpts: Since September 11, 2001, U.S. defense strategies to counter bioterrorism have largely centered on smallpox. That concentration of effort has diverted attention and resources away from more basic general public health considerations that are even more vital to bioterror defense. Without the capacity to implement response plans and to treat cases that were unanticipated before the event--capacities that depend on a strong public health infrastructure--our present preparations are little more than window-dressing. Perhaps most disturbing is the limited usefulness of programs directed at defense against smallpox. Given the wide diversity of potential biological agents that might be used in an attack, it would seem prudent first to strengthen the public health system overall, a strategy that serves defense aims whatever biological agent might be employed. The lessons learned in the United States should be helpful to other nations that are vulnerable to bioterrorism and ev! en more helpful to the global effort to manage emerging infections of all kinds.
- Source: Bioterrorism Defense Priorities
[ http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/301/5629/17 ], May, Thomas, Silverman, Ross, Science 2003 301: 17-