Bioterrorism Funds Tight, Board Tells Top State Health Official

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Byline: Diana Wallace Daily Herald Staff Writer

The DuPage County Board of Health grilled the state's top health officer Thursday on why the suburbs aren't getting more money to prepare for a bioterrorism attack.

"We're kind of in a crisis here in DuPage County with dramatic decreases in funding to take care of services we've had in the past," said board member Dr. Lanny Wilson. "We're looking to higher sources to help us."

Dr. John Lumpkin, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health who attended the meeting to address local concerns, said he's confident the county will "get more than its fair share."

Lumpkin has the task of distributing, with approval of the federal government and Gov. George Ryan, about $30 million in federal funds throughout the state to both bolster statewide resources and allow each county to develop its own bioterrorism preparedness plan.

Lumpkin said he understands the requests and that it is difficult to say no to them.

But he said he has to concern himself with the protection of 12.4 million Illinoisans, not just those in the most populated region. He cited the smallest county, Calhoun, which has 6,000 people.

"One would argue these 6,000 people have the right to protection," Lumpkin said.

Of the $30 million the state has received from the federal government to fight bioterrorism, the collar counties of DuPage, Kane and Lake have in hand or will receive $230,000 each. Suburban Cook County has received $330,000 and McHenry County $115,000. …