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biologicalcontrols.com - CDC Report 1/12/2004

CDC report: U.S. not ready

for SARS outbreak

The U.S. is far from ready to handle a major outbreak of the deadly SARS virus, concludes a report commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, conducted by university of Louisville researchers and submitted Dec. 1, cites a lack of specialists who study diseases, along with cuts in state and local health department budgets as reasons for the lack of preparedness.

"The current shortage of epidemiologists, public health nurses and other personnel in the U.S. will reach a crisis stage in the event of an epidemic," the report says. "If these positions are not restored, an otherwise containable epidemic may spread rapidly."

Though the last year's SARS epidemic was essentially kept from U.S. borders, health officials say it could re-emerge any time, possibly aided by the worse-than-norma! flu season.

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