Wednesday, August 1

National Bio-Surveillance Strategy

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National Bio-Surveillance Strategy

It conjures up thoughts of the movie "Outbreak"

"Outbreak" is no masterpiece but if you haven't seen it, or it has been a long time, it's worth seeing again. It is a movie about the military attempting to contain a deadly virus smuggled into the country.

July 31, 2012

There is no higher priority than the security and safety of the American
people. As a Nation, we must be prepared for the full range of threats,
including a terrorist attack involving a biological agent, the spread of
infectious diseases, and food-borne illnesses. The effective dissemination
of a lethal biological agent, for instance, could endanger the lives of
hundreds of thousands of people and result in untold economic, societal, and
political consequences.

In my National Security Strategy, I committed the United States to new
approaches to counter biological threats. Specifically, I called for
"obtaining timely and accurate insight on current and emerging risks."
Such biosurveillance -- including early detection -- is one of our first
lines of defense against these threats. As we saw during the H1N1
influenza pandemic of 2009, decisionmakers -- from the President to local
officials -- need accurate and timely information in order to develop the
effective responses that save lives. The sooner we can detect and
understand a threat, the faster we can take action to protect the American

This first-ever National Strategy for Biosurveillance builds on the
capabilities already in place and further institutionalizes our efforts to
ensure that we are doing everything possible to identify and understand
threats as early as possible. Its goal is to provide the critical
information and ongoing situational awareness that enables better
decisionmaking at all levels. It calls for a coordinated approach that
brings together Federal, State, local, and tribal governments; the private
sector; nongovernmental organizations; and international partners.
It challenges us to take full advantage of the advanced technologies, new
vaccines, the latest science, and social media that can help keep our
citizens safe. It describes the core functions and critical capabilities we
need to succeed.

As a next step, I am directing that a strategic implementation plan be
completed within 120 days to lay out the specific actions that are required
and the responsibilities of all partners in this mission. In the event of a
biological outbreak or incident, the threat will move rapidly and transcend
boundaries and borders. So must our response. Guided by this Strategy, I
am confident that we can meet our shared responsibility and deepen the
collaboration we need to keep our country safe and secure."

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