Most States Not Prepared for Infectious Diseases – US News

Are Americans getting smug about controlling infectious diseases? Some researchers seem to think so.

Though the U.S. has taken significant strides during the last decade in its ability to harness infections, the lack of preparation for Ebola this year should serve as a major wake-up call, experts say.  

“Ebola raised attention to serious gaps in our ability to manage disease outbreaks and contain their spread,” Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust For America’s Health, said in a call with reporters Thursday. ”It was alarming that many of the most basic infectious disease-control policies failed when tested.”

Source: www.usnews.com

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DTRA Experts Scan World Horizons for Biothreats

Biosurveillance, at least for the Defense Department, is the process of gathering, integrating, analyzing and communicating a range of information that relates to health threats for people, animals and even plants, to help protect troops worldwide, and to increase global health security.
Such advance knowledge comes from monitoring the environment, monitoring medical and clinical disease reporting worldwide, monitoring the many networks established for collecting and distributing disease information, and most recently monitoring social media and online services for crowd-sourced infectious disease news.
The planet’s largest outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa is the latest example of how an infectious disease in one area can become a major international security issue.
Countries have reported 17,551 cases so far and 6,202 deaths from Ebola, according to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
Preparing for Threat Events
“We work with a lot of interagency partners because [biosurveillance] is a big mission space, it’s not something any single agency can cover all on its own,” Dr. Ronald K. Hann Jr., director of research and development in DTRA’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department, told DoD News during a recent interview.
“We work with DARPA and some of our other interagency partners,” he added, “to make sure we’re really covering biosurveillance in the country and overseas, to see if there are events we need to be aware of and how to prepare [if] we have to respond to any kind of crisis.”

Source: www.defense.gov

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PositiveID Publishes Year-End Update Report on Market Opportunities for Its Bio-Threat Detection and Diagnostics Solutions

DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Dec. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — PositiveID Corporation (“PositiveID” or “Company”) (OTCQB:PSID), a developer of biological detection and diagnostics solutions, announced today it published a 2014 year-end update report on market opportunities for its homeland security and medical diagnostics technologies. A copy of the report is available on PositiveID’s website at

Source: globenewswire.com

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AP News : Report: FBI’s anthrax investigation was flawed

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI’s conclusion that Army biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins was the sole perpetrator.

The 77-page report from the Government Accountability Office says the FBI’s research, including novel microbial forensic tests, did not provide a full understanding of how bacteria change in their natural environment and in a laboratory. This failure to grasp the reason for genetic mutations that were used to differentiate between samples of anthrax bacteria was a “key scientific gap” in the investigation, the report says.

The GAO also found a lack of rigorous controls over sampling procedures and a failure to cite the degree of uncertainty in measurement tools used to identify genetic markers.

“Although the complexity and novelty of the scientific methods at the time of the FBI’s investigation made it challenging for the FBI to adequately address all these problems, the agency could have improved its approach,” the report said.

Source: m.apnews.com

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