Joe Lieberman Calls Measles Outbreaks ‘Threat To National Security’
Two former American politicians are sounding alarms today, warning the public that the measles outbreak is a threat to our national security. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Sen. Joe Lieberman wrote an opinion piece in USA Today, claiming that measles cases are wasting U.S. resources that may be needed to fight a pandemic.
Check out our pandemic preparedness guide for more information on pandemics.
The CDC has a current tally of 555 active measles cases in the United States. In 2014, there were 667 cases of measles. The two former politicians compared the measles to a “devastating infectious disease pandemic.”
A devastating infectious disease pandemic could kill more people than nuclear war. Just 100 years ago, the Spanish flu killed 50 to 100 million people. Life-threatening diseases continue to place us at great risk. Ten years ago, it was H1N1 influenza. Today, it is the measles.
The article calls for more government resources to be allocated to our public health system.
This reemergence of measles teaches us two things. First, our public health system needs additional resources if it is to control the occurrence and spread of disease throughout the nation.
Second, since local governments — including New York City — are having to spend their limited public health resources to contain diseases like measles, they will not be sufficiently prepared for large-scale biological events such as a bioterrorist attack or an infectious disease pandemic. If measles draws down New York’s resources now, the city will be less able to withstand the next major biological event. Devastation could be vast and swift, followed quickly by an impact on the national economy that we cannot afford.
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The two men also claim that measles outbreaks make us vulnerable to bioterrorism.
We found that basic public health preparedness, detection, response and recovery infrastructure varies widely throughout the United States, meaning that the entire nation could be at higher risk for biological events,” the authors wrote. “Localities struggling with diseases are immediately vulnerable, but so, too, are those who live in bordering states and close-by territories.
We need a strategy to fight that war, which means the federal government needs to get on with the business of implementing the National Biodefense Strategy that our panel recommended four years ago, and which the Trump administration issued last fall.
The two are calling for a new U.S. preparedness plan, or emergency medical system, that make hospitals prepared to react to pandemics. They call it “real-time pharmacy readiness.”
They go on to lump measles in with Ebola and zika virus.
We cannot afford to ignore the lessons that measles, Ebola, pandemic influenza, plague, Zika, and other diseases have been teaching us — and continue to teach us — about our vulnerabilities
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.