CDC: False Alarms Show System Works
Atlanta Journal-Constitution; 2B
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Julie Gerberding, told an American Medical Association science reporters conference Thursday that the increasing volume of calls about possible bioterrorist threats, although most turn out to be false alarms, has been good in that they are excellent practice for response teams and also demonstrate that the system is working the way it should. She noted, "The bottom line is that all preparedness is really local," and to that end, the CDC has distributed $918 million to state and local health departments to boost their readiness. However, since the CDC has no regulatory jurisdiction, it is not allowed to enter a state unless invited--which has been an obstacle in the way of the agency's efforts to follow up on the victims of last fall's anthrax scare and the estimated 10,000 others who took antibiotics. At that time, the CDC partnered with the Association of Public Health Labs to create a national network of at least 50 state laboratories which ultimately tested over 125,000 specimens for anthrax. The agency has also increased the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile program complete with a specially trained Rapid Response Team capable of getting vaccines, antibiotics, and other medical resource to the frontline of any emergency situation Gerberding said.