Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

United States Ill-Equipped To Face Bioterrorists, Hopkins Expert Warns

Date:
March 1, 1999
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
D.A. Henderson, M.D., one of the nation's leading authorities on threats to the public's health and the man credited with the success of the smallpox eradication project a quarter century ago, says the virus is once again a threat to the United States and the world -- this time as a weapon of bioterrorists.

D.A. Henderson, M.D., one of the nation's leading authorities on threats to the public's health and the man credited with the success of the smallpox eradication project a quarter century ago, says the virus is once again a threat to the United States and the world -- this time as a weapon of bioterrorists.

Writing in the Feb. 26 issue of Science, Henderson, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies and former dean of the Hopkins School of Public Health, says recent disclosures of a massive bioweapons industry in the former Soviet Union, a smaller but equally disconcerting Iraqi program, and expanding bioweapons research in 10 other countries should focus particular attention on U.S. cities as targets for bioweapons.

While planning by the military and intelligence communities to predict and forestall biological weapons attacks has been under way, such efforts have generally excluded the front line and "first responders" -- namely physicians, hospitals and public health workers. They, too, Henderson says, are ill-prepared to deal with anthrax and smallpox, identified by experts as the top two bioweapon threats.

"There are three kinds of weapons of mass destruction," Henderson notes, "nuclear, chemical and biological. The biological weapons are most feared, but the country is least equipped to deal with them."

In his Science report, Henderson calls on the private sector, and on federal, state and local governments and medical and public health authorities to provide resources for training emergency room doctors and nurses to recognize symptoms caused by biological weapons; to improve diagnostic techniques; to develop, produce and stockpile improved vaccines and treatments; to rebuild the infrastructure of public health agencies and to develop communications and health care delivery guidelines specifically related to biological terrorism.

Unlike a chemical attack, the release of a bioweapon would be invisible, silent, odorless and "almost certainly" undetected, writes Henderson. But in a few days or a week, patients would appear in emergency rooms and doctor's offices with rarely or never-before-seen symptoms. Without any experience dealing with smallpox, eradicated in the late 1970s, or any other possible bioweapon, doctors may not realize the extent of the problem until lives are unnecessarily lost.

"Just as in the 1980s the medical community rallied to educate policy makers about the dread reality of a nuclear winter, the same needs to be done for the remote -- but real -- threat biological weapons pose," says Henderson.

Henderson's Science report follows a conference held Feb. 16-17 to grapple with these issues. Nearly a thousand doctors, public health workers, military officers and policy makers attended. The conference was presented by the Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Society for Microbiology.

Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies Web site, which features a full Netcast of the Feb. 16-17 conference: http://www.hopkins-biodefense.org/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "United States Ill-Equipped To Face Bioterrorists, Hopkins Expert Warns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990301073654.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1999, March 1). United States Ill-Equipped To Face Bioterrorists, Hopkins Expert Warns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990301073654.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "United States Ill-Equipped To Face Bioterrorists, Hopkins Expert Warns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990301073654.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Now a new approach to rejection of donor organs could change the way doctors predict transplant rejection…without expensive, invasive procedures. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Better Braces That Vibrate

Better Braces That Vibrate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) The length of time you have to keep your braces on could be cut in half thanks to a new device that speeds up the process. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins