D.A. Henderson warns U.S. unprepared for bioterror attack

An epidemiologist who led the global effort to eradicate smallpox has spoken out against the government's inability to coordinate response plans and preparations in the event of a biological attack or pandemic.

D.A. Henderson, who was named the chief of the Office of Public Health Preparedness shortly after the 2001 anthrax attacks, gave a preview of a speech he plans to make later in February at the Public Health Preparedness Summit. He said that despite a decade of work to improve biodefense at all levels of government, an overall strategy has yet to be developed, Huffington Post reports.

"I've kept quiet about this for a long time, but I'm deeply concerned," Henderson said, according to Huffington Post.

Henderson followed the sentiment of other red flags that have been raised about the country's bioterrorism preparedness. The Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center gave the country failing grades in its Bio-Response Report Card in October with respect to its readiness to counteract a large-scale pandemic.

"This has been discussed for years," Henderson said, according to Huffington Post. "It's still not decided - what do we recommend? Nobody is really in charge. Somebody has got to take the lead."

While Henderson said that it is impossible to prevent a biological attack and that the only defense is quick action to reduce the damage, he worries that the nation will not be ready when the time comes.

"I've come to the point I really have to talk about it," Henderson said, according to Huffington Post. "We've really got to crack this thing loose and get people on it. They will say they have the report, the plan is made, it's ready to go. That's what I was told a year and half ago."