Biological Attack on the US Claimed Inevitable. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


This article claims that a biological attack on the US will happen within the next 10 years. It goes on to point out specific vulnerabilities...

-- Mad Monk (, February 04, 2000


US Biological Attack Said Inevitable

By Michelle Williams, Associated Press Writer

Friday, Feb. 4, 2000; 10:32 p.m. EST

SAN DIEGO  Terrorists will likely attack the United States with the small pox or anthrax viruses within the next five to 10 years, says an expert who warns the country is unprepared.

"We are a long way away from being even modestly prepared," D.A. Henderson, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, said Friday at a conference on bioterrorism. "But we're doing a lot more now than we did 12 months, or even 6 months ago."

The two-day conference brings together more than 300 physicians, scientists, public officials and law enforcement agents to discuss possible ways to respond in the event of an attack.

"This is a problem that's going to have to be dealt with at the local level," said Henderson, who was a leader in the effort to eradicate smallpox and now is mobilizing health workers against bioterrorism.

"Doctors and nurses in emergency rooms will be the first ones to see signs of an epidemic. They need to know how to deal with it."

Bioterrorism is the release of deadly bacteria, viruses or products of those agents. Those that pose the greatest threat are smallpox, anthrax and plague because they have the potential to spread quickly and cause large numbers of deaths.

Such an attack is expected in this country within the decade, Henderson said, noting that some governments have stockpiles of the agents. Fringe groups, meanwhile, have already launched attacks elsewhere, including the deadly sarin nerve gas attack carried out by a cult on a Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 people.

Policy-makers know how to respond to chemical spills and nuclear plant leaks, but those hazardous material plans won't work for a bioterrorist attack, Henderson said.

"With a virus, signs aren't apparent for days or weeks," Henderson said. "The flu-like symptoms may get misdiagnosed until the disease reaches an epidemic level."

With shortages of hospital space, vaccines and antibiotics, "there would be chaos," he said.

But Margaret Hamburg, who helps direct a bioterrorism initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, urged people not to panic, saying the federal government has allocated millions of dollars to help states prepared for bioterrorism.

"People shouldn't go to bed at night worrying about it," Hamburg said. The United States hasn't vaccinated against smallpox since the 1970s, and there's only enough vaccine left for 7.5 million people and no factories to make more, Henderson said. The development of an anthrax vaccine available to the public is another 5 years away, he said.

-- uh-oh (twinges@doomerism.again), February 04, 2000.

We've been under a national state of emergency since 1994 for this bio warfare attack. Why's everyone (press) reporting a 6 year ols story?

Oh. For Elian's sixth birthday? Anyone see that stuff on CNN about his grandma? ew.

-- Hokie (, February 05, 2000.

Simple Answer.Remove People from Positions,that advocate present Foreign Policy of supporting Terrorist State in Middle East.Do you think those People,that are a Threat to us,do it because they have nothing better to do?

-- innocent Victim (itstime@wake.up), February 05, 2000.

doesthis still work, awful quite. just got out of my bunker

-- me (, March 22, 2002.

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