Upsetting
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
 
U.S. still unready for bio attacks

By Robyn Suriano | Sentinel Medical Writer

Nearly two years after the Sept. 11 and anthrax attacks terrorized the nation, America remains far short of a national warning network to spot bioterrorism outbreaks early enough to prevent disaster.

Health officials nationwide are struggling to find better ways of detecting potential biological attacks in their earliest stages by tracking everything from sales of over-the-counter drugs to symptoms of emergency-room patients.

Yet few communities have managed to establish such a system, known as syndromic surveillance. A recent government report found that 34 surveillance systems are in various stages of testing, but their use is "piecemeal," with little uniformity between cities and states.
 
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