Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Comprehensive Plan Needed To Protect Against Importation Of Infectious Diseases And Bioterrorism Agents At U.S. Ports Of Entry

Date:
September 2, 2005
Source:
The National Academies
Summary:
The system for intercepting microbial threats at the nation's airports, seaports, and borders needs strategic leadership and a comprehensive plan to meet the challenges posed by emerging diseases and bioterrorist threats, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

WASHINGTON -- The system for intercepting microbial threats at thenation's airports, seaports, and borders needs strategic leadership anda comprehensive plan to meet the challenges posed by emerging diseasesand bioterrorist threats, says a new report from the Institute ofMedicine of the National Academies. The U.S. Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention -- particularly its Division of Global Migrationand Quarantine and the individual quarantine stations at U.S. ports ofentry -- should be given the responsibility, authority, and resourcesto lead the effort to protect the public from microbial threats thatoriginate abroad, said the committee that wrote the report. CDC alsoshould work with national, state, and local partners to develop a morecomprehensive strategic approach that clearly delineates each partner'sroles and responsibilities.

"CDC quarantine stations and the broader quarantine system serve as thenation's insurance policy against catastrophes that might arise fromthe importation of naturally occurring infectious agents, such as theSARS virus, or man-made threats like an attack using a dangerousbiological agent," said Georges Benjamin, executive director of theAmerican Public Health Association, Washington, D.C., and chair of thecommittee that wrote the report. "But no single entity currently hasthe responsibility, authority, and resources to orchestrate all theactivities of the quarantine system, and the traditionalresponsibilities of quarantine personnel are no longer sufficient tomeet the challenges posed by the rapidly increasing pace of globaltrade and travel and the emergence of new microbial threats.Consequently, we recommend the establishment of clear leadership andlines of communication among all parties involved in protecting thepublic from infectious agents that originate abroad."

Every year, roughly 120 million people travel into or out of thecountry through the nation's 474 airports, seaports, and land-bordercrossings. In 2003 Congress began to allocate funds to bring the numberof quarantine stations from eight to 25. The 25 cities that wouldcomprise the expanded quarantine station system together receive morethan 75 million international travelers and immigrants annually. Theyalso receive 31 percent of the cargo imported by sea. Currently, 11quarantine stations staffed by CDC personnel are fully active inAtlanta; Chicago; El Paso, Texas; Honolulu; Houston; Los Angeles;Miami; New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. CDCwill open stations by the end of the year in Anchorage, Alaska; Boston;Detroit; Minneapolis; Newark, N.J.; San Diego; and San Juan, PuertoRico. Additional cities under consideration are Charlotte, N.C.;Dallas; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; New Orleans; Philadelphia; andPhoenix.

The individual quarantine stations and the CDC's Division of GlobalMigration and Quarantine screen travellers, refugees, immigrants,animals, and cargo for disease agents shortly before and during theirarrival at U.S. gateways. However, preventing, detecting, andresponding to microbial threats also involves many other organizationsranging from local public health departments and hospitals to customsand border protection agents, agriculture inspectors, and the U.S.departments of State and Homeland Security.

Quarantine station personnel and the Division of Global Migration andQuarantine should shift their primary focus from inspecting people andcargo at individual ports to assuming leadership of the activities ofthe broader quarantine system across local, state, and national levels.Given the various jurisdictions involved, CDC should take extra care towork collaboratively with its partners as it exerts leadership overthis one aspect of their many responsibilities. Federal and state lawsshould ensure that quarantine personnel have clear authority to carryout their tasks, such as tracking and controlling the spread of diseasecarried by international travelers or cargo across state lines.Currently, legal and regulatory authority is fragmented among variouslevels of government, the report notes.

A national strategic plan devised by CDC quarantine personnel is neededto provide the best possible framework for protecting the public fromthe importation of dangerous biological agents, the committeeconcluded. CDC quarantine staff should assess the risks posed byinfectious agents that could enter the country via travelers, refugees,immigrants, and cargo and develop a plan focused on communicablediseases that would complement other security plans devised by theDepartment of Homeland Security, the report recommends. The new planshould pinpoint the greatest potential risks and outline the roles andresponsibilities of each partner. This will ensure that finiteresources are used effectively and that those involved know who is incharge of different activities in routine and emergency situations.

One significant gap in the current quarantine system is the difficultyinvolved in quickly locating airline passengers who may have beenexposed to a high-risk infectious agent such as the SARS virus during aflight. Often, travelers have to be found days after the flight isover. The report supports the targeted use of passenger locator cardsas an interim solution. These cards -- which would be distributed onflights to and from countries where a disease outbreak is occurring orwhen a passenger or crew member becomes ill during a flight -- wouldrecord passenger contact information and seat numbers in a scannableformat so that the data could be retrieved and transmitted easily.

Historically, more than 500 people once staffed 55 federal quarantinestations, but the perception that microbial threats had been broughtunder control led to the dismantling of most of the quarantine systemin the 1970s. However, nearly 40 new infectious diseases wereidentified between 1973 and 2003. In addition, terrorism in general andbioterrorism in particular have become grave concerns.

###

The report was sponsored by theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. The Institute of Medicineis a private, nonprofit institution that provides health policy adviceunder a congressional charter granted to the National Academy ofSciences. A committee roster follows.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The National Academies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The National Academies. "Comprehensive Plan Needed To Protect Against Importation Of Infectious Diseases And Bioterrorism Agents At U.S. Ports Of Entry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050902070237.htm>.
The National Academies. (2005, September 2). Comprehensive Plan Needed To Protect Against Importation Of Infectious Diseases And Bioterrorism Agents At U.S. Ports Of Entry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050902070237.htm
The National Academies. "Comprehensive Plan Needed To Protect Against Importation Of Infectious Diseases And Bioterrorism Agents At U.S. Ports Of Entry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050902070237.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
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