Anthrax Probe Finds US ‘Poorly Prepared’

Security firm says new vaccine, better detection needed
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2007 4:31 PM CST
WASHINGTON, DC -- Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey appears at a U.S. Senate hearing on reorganizing the intelligence community in Washington, D.C., on August 16, 2004.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – The US is ill equipped to deal with anthrax threats, a consulting firm said today, and must improve vaccines, drugs for victims of exposure and detection methods. The group, which includes a former CIA director, used several outbreak scenarios—in subways, movie theaters, theme parks and the Oscars—to illustrate America’s lack of preparedness, Reuters reports.

Six years after anthrax-filled mail killed five people in the US, there’s still no widely available vaccine; a government contract to produce 25 million inoculations was terminated last year. A spokeswoman said the Department of Homeland Security was “very engaged” in upping readiness for anthrax attacks, but stressed there was no imminent biological threat.