Federal Perspective on the State of Our Nation's Biodefense, Hearing Before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, April 14, 2016 [open pdf - 3MB]
This is from the June 29, 2016 hearing on "Federal Perspective on the State of Our Nation's Biodefense," before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. From the opening statement of Ron Johnson: "Today, we look forward to learning the perspective of federal agencies on the state of our nation's biodefenses. We hope to learn how key federal agencies are fulfilling their responsibilities in this area, and what steps they are taking to improve preparedness and response. To be fair, biodefense is an unwieldy topic. We face threats ranging from natural outbreaks of infectious diseases to accidental releases of high-risk pathogens, or purposeful, malicious attacks. Over the last two years, our nation -- and at times the entire world -- has faced several major biological incidents. Ebola certainly caught the nation off-guard. Our public health officials first told the nation that every community hospital could handle Ebola infections. Shortly thereafter, new cases were transferred to just a handful of specialized hospitals. There also were issues surrounding waste management, adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, and tracking travelers to countries in West Africa. In terms of animal health, last spring's spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza through the Midwest, including Wisconsin, revealed significant gaps in preparedness. There were staffing and equipment shortages, and a lack of understanding of the pathogen itself. The Zika virus now threatens the nation. A recent study concluded that dozens of major metropolitan areas across the southern half of the United States are at moderate to high risk of susceptibility to the Zika virus. As was the case with Ebola, officials have changed their tune from their initial approach. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said, 'Everything we know about this virus seems to be a little bit scarier than we initially thought.'" Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Richard J. Hatchett, Stephen C. Redd, Kevin Shea, Aaron M. Firoved, and Christopher P. Currie.
S. Hrg. 114-639; Senate Hearing 114-639
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