Former Homeland Security chief expresses concerns about U.S. biopreparedness

Former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge
Former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge | RidgeGlobal

Former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge voiced concerns about America's biopreparedness in the midst of the current Ebola scare on Monday.

"I think one of the real challenges is ... are we equipped to deal with it if it spreads quickly because it is a contagion?" Ridge said on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto. "For years, I have been trying to discuss with you and other folks the threat of a pathogen either directed at us from terrorists or from Mother Nature ...  And this rekindles that whole very important question, are we prepared for this kind of pathogen, whether we are confronted by Mother Nature or confronted by terrorists?"

Ridge said he fears America is ill-equipped to meet the demand for vaccines and antidotes if a pathogen such as Ebola were widely spread.

"There's enormous stress on the health care delivery system right now," Ridge said. "It's just a reminder of how important a strong public health system is and how important it is to have our bio-companies and our pharmacies prepared to respond to it as quickly as possible."

Ridge said the current Ebola situation is reminiscent of the 2001 Anthrax scare and the need for a central point of communication. 

"Well, you know, at this point in time, (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) should be and is at the epicenter of public communication," Ridge said. "We need to take advice from the professionals."