RealNews

Report Calls U.S. Agencies Understaffed for Bioterror

The government is likely to be overwhelmed in the event of a bioterrorism attack because of serious shortages in skilled medical and scientific personnel, according to a study by a public service advocacy group. “Perhaps more than any other terrorist threat, bioterrorism will place huge burdens on small pools of medical, scientific and technical expertise,” the study concluded. “These organizations are already exhibiting hairline cracks — some would say fractures — that may presage disaster.” The study, which focused on five federal biodefense agencies, will be made public on Tuesday. It was prepared by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group founded in 2001 that seeks to attract more qualified people to government service. The study found that the anthrax mailings in 2001, which killed five people, created confusion and heavily burdened the federal agencies that responded to the incident. Full Story

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