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Lawmakers question bioterror readiness of public health system

Members of a House Government Reform subcommittee on Monday expressed their concern that while the country’s public health system has come a long way in preparing for a bioterrorist attack, it still has a long way to go. Subcommittee members repeatedly queried panelists, including Dr. David Fleming—the deputy director for public health science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta—about whether legislation might be necessary to establish a clear chain of command in the event of a bioterrorist attack. They also asked whether legislation was needed to ensure that the CDC makes progress in implementing a nationwide system for public health officials to report suspicious diagnoses and symptoms. The Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, headed by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., heard testimony from Fleming and Dr. David Tornberg, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Clinical and Program policy, as well as local public health officials. Full Story

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