Terror fight has waned, expert warns

While U.S. public health safety effort increased after the September 11, 2001 terror and anthrax attacks, 10 years later, some of that effort has decreased even if the danger hasn't, according to a major health official.
Dr. Ali Khan, the director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that there has been an approximate 30 percent decrease in federal funding to support local and state health departments, with 44,000 jobs lost in local and state health departments between 2008 and 2010, the National Journal reports.
The comprehensive system of public health that grew after September 11 now has an improved ability to detect biological attacks, novel viruses, foodborne outbreaks and new pandemics like the 2009 H1N1 swine flu. Khan said that the CDC will be making these points to Congress as it considers funding for the future.
“Public health threats have fiscal, economic, and political ramifications,” Khan said, according to the National Journal. “Therefore it requires a federal response. These events are not about some local community with a little outbreak. The sooner you find out about these events, invest in them, and shut them down, the better it is for the country."
Khan also noted the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006, which set up a structure for emergency preparedness in the Health and Human Services Department.
“CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile increased its core formulary to support the prophylaxis of more than 50 million people to prevent anthrax, plague, or tularemia, and acquired enough smallpox vaccine to immunize every person in the USA,” Khan said, according to the National Journal. “The stockpile also started the forward placement of life-saving antidotes for terrorist attacks with chemical or nerve agents.”
Khan said that this testing was not as widespread before 1999 and that more is needed to prevent new diseases from arising naturally and synthetically.

“The genomes of thousands of microbes have been sequenced and their blueprints are available for rapid sharing across the Internet along with instructions for development of chemical agents,” Khan wrote, according to the National Journal. "These and other types of advanced technologies are becoming increasingly accessible and easy to use by less-skilled individuals.”