prev next front |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 |8 |9 |10 |11 |12 |13 |14 |15 |16 |17 |18 |19 |20 |21 |22 |23 |24 |review
There were 4 primary components of the public health system in Sept. 10.

1.Sensors: These are the development of anthrax and other disease"sniffers", using chip technology. The concept is to have these widely distributed to identify Anthrax at its first sign. There are two problems, the first is that many of the chips will not be available for years to come, so all we have now are "vaporware" sensors. The second is that for the chips to be effective, then need to be distributed to millions of places. The problem is that there is not sufficient bandwidth to accomplish this.

2.Better Laboratories: This appears to be at first thought, a good idea. However, reducing bioterrorism with better laboratories is like trying to reduce the number of homicides with better autopsies.

3.Public Health Surveillance: There has been a major push to improve the surveillance in the US. Clearly better surveillance is important. However, how much can be gained? There actually was little problem in the identification of the Anthrax cases. Better surveillance may gain perhaps 1-2 days in identification, probably not sufficient to prevent many cases.

4.Data Mining Surveillance: This is designed to evaluate different sources of data, such as Kleenex sales from grocery stores, or absentees in children. There is an enormous problem of signal to noise, e.g. kids get sick for many reasons. Once again the gain in terms of days is small.

If we hold all of these up to the litmus test of the terrorist attacks to date, it is difficult to see how any of the existing terrorist attacks could have been prevented.  

prev next front |1 |2 |3 |4 |5 |6 |7 |8 |9 |10 |11 |12 |13 |14 |15 |16 |17 |18 |19 |20 |21 |22 |23 |24 |review