In a finding that raises the question of whether the chaotic response to Hurricane Katrina was a foreshadowing of things to come, a national assessment has determined that 35 states are not ready to distribute medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) even if the feds deliver the life-saving materials in a matter of hours following an attack or disaster.
In the aftermath of a disaster or terrorist attack, with supplies scarce and lives in the balance, hard choices may have to be made about who can be saved and who must be designated solely for pain relief and comfort care.
A popular plot device in fictionalized accounts of bioterrorist attacks calls for terrorist to infect themselves with an infectious agent and then disperse into populated areas as they become symptomatic. This low-tech attack method has the terrorists, like so many drug mules, carrying a pathogenic payload within their bloodstreams.
Amid growing concern that terrorists may strike with a nuclear weapon instead of a biological one, the government is fast-tracking programs to develop medical countermeasures against radiological and nuclear threats.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that fear of adverse vaccine reactions and the perception that there is little likelihood of a smallpox attack have undermined the federal immunization plan for health care workers.