Bioterrorism Preparedness Assumes New Urgency

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - The threat of bioterrorism has become much more immediate in the wake of the devastating airliner attacks on New York and Washington.

The Sept. 11 assault came just weeks after the Department of Health and Human Services had named a physician with expertise in bioterrorism preparedness to lead a coordinated medical and public health response effort.

In July, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson appointed Dr. Scott Lillibridge as his special assistant for bioterrorism. Dr. Lillibridge, who had an 11-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1998 became the director of the CDC's bioterrorism preparedness and response program. In other capacities at the agency Dr. Lillibridge was associate director of the National Center for Environmental Health for 3 years and in 1995 worked as the chief medical officer for the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Prior to the CDC, he served with the Indian Health Service.

A spokeswoman for Rep. …