Bloomberg News

U.S. Unprepared for Large-Scale Biological Attack, Study Says

October 12, 2011

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. is unprepared for a large- scale biological attack, according to a bipartisan report that gave failing grades to federal, state and local governments.

Governments received the letter grade F for their ability to diagnose large-scale attacks with drug-resistant and contagious pathogens, according to a report today by the WMD Center, a nonprofit group in Washington that seeks to improve preparedness. The group also said governments aren’t prepared to determine who is responsible for attacks.

“A thinking enemy, armed with biological weapons, could change the very nature of America, our economy, our government, and even our social structure,” said former Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and the center’s chairman, in a statement. “America does not yet have adequate bio-response capability to meet fundamental expectations during a large-scale biological event.”

The center took over the work of Congress’s Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. That panel, in a January 2010 report, gave the federal government an F grade for biological-attack response.

The center in the report released today gave the grade C for federal, state and local officials’ ability to detect small- scale attacks and the grade B for their preparation to treat victims of those incidents.

--Editors: Justin Blum, Laurie Asseo

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Bliss in Washington at jbliss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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