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NCJ Number: 199974 Find in a Library
Title: Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Bioterrorism Preparedness Efforts Have Improved Public Health Response Capacity, but Gaps Remain
Author(s): Janet Heinrich
Corporate Author: US Government Accountability Office
United States of America
Date Published: April 9, 2003
Page Count: 16
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20013
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548
Publication Number: GAO-03-654T
Sale Source: US Government Accountability Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses the gaps that still exist in bioterrorism preparedness efforts.
Abstract: A study examined the preparedness of State and local public health agencies and organizations for responding to a large-scale infectious disease outbreak. It also examined the preparedness of hospitals for responding to a large-scale infectious disease outbreak, and Federal and State efforts to prepare for an influenza pandemic. The study was based on a survey of hospitals and information updating a prior report on Federal and State planning for an influenza pandemic. The study found that the efforts of State and local public health agencies to prepare for a bioterrorist attack have improved the Nation’s capacity to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and other major public health threats. But workforce shortages and gaps in disease surveillance and laboratory facilities exist. The level of preparedness varied across cities. Jurisdictions that have had multiple prior experiences with public health emergencies were generally more prepared than others. Regional planning was generally lacking between States. States were developing their own plans for receiving and distributing medical supplies for emergencies, as well as plans for mass vaccinations in the event of a public health emergency. The study also found that many hospitals lack the capacity to respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks. Most hospitals reported participating in basic planning activities for large-scale infectious disease outbreaks and training staff about biological agents. Most hospitals lack adequate equipment, isolation facilities, and staff to treat a large increase in the number of patients that may result. Federal and State officials have not finalized plans for responding to pandemic influenza. The plans do not consistently address problems related to the purchase, distribution, and administration of supplies of vaccines and antiviral drugs that may be needed during a pandemic.
Main Term(s): Disaster procedures; Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Biological weapons; Contingency planning; Emergency procedures; Subversive activities; Terrorist weapons; Weapons
Note: Testimony before the Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives; downloaded April 9, 2003.
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