Charging that the U.S. government is unprepared for a biological attack, Sen. John F. Kerry has urged greater planning, more resources and, increased international collaboration to help protect the nation from the threat of bioterrorism, says the Los Angeles Times. Public health facilities are hampered in detecting or responding to a biological attack, he said in a panel discussion at the University of South Florida, because they are “staggering beneath the everyday burdens of a broken healthcare system.”
Kerry vowed to make the prevention of bioterrorism a national priority and convene a meeting of experts within his first 100 days as president. Participants would be asked to create a comprehensive strategic plan to combat biological and chemical threats. Dr. Raymond Zilinskas of the Monterey Institute of International Studies said Kerry’s approach is “pressing on the right buttons, but the question is, where’s the money going to come from?” Zilinskas said the main biological threat comes from nature, not man, in the form of emerging or imported infectious diseases.