Milwaukee CDC director urges upgrade to pandemic controls

Paul Biedrzycki, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Environmental Health for the City of Milwaukee Health Department, discussed bioterrorism issues and current methods of disease pandemic control at a recent lecture at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

“It’s managing public expectations in a certain environment that’s going to be the most challenging," Biedrzycki said, the UWM Post reported. He then added that the CDC is still attempt to formulate plans to broadcast effective risk communication to the American public.

Biedrzycki also warned that the United States is currently much more lax in how it controls travel, especially by air, of sick passengers in comparison to other nations, which he said are much more serious about screening for diseases when boarding planes.

Biedrzycki also told the lecture attendants that while a nuclear weapon has a much higher potential impact, the likelihood of one being used by terrorists was low. In contrast, a bioterrorism attack had both a high likelihood of occurrence and a high likelihood of impact.

As an example of the potential impact, Biedrzycki illustrated his point with the potential results of an anthrax attack.

“Think of a thimble kind of spreading evenly in this room, infecting most of you within 96 hours with about 80 percent of you dying,” Biedrzycki said. “This stuff isn’t science fiction, really."