Protecting the U.S. Homeland from Biological Threats Requires a Holistic Approach
By Steve Melito
Last December, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed its leading health challenges of 2013. “Our biggest successes,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, “may be the bad things that did not happen.” This included stopping the outbreak of a smallpox-like virus in the Eurasian Republic of Georgia, and preventing other infectious diseases from reaching the U.S. “Global health and protecting our country go hand in hand,” Dr. Frieden explained.
The CDC isn’t part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), but DHS works in concert with the nation’s health protection agency. The DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA) also coordinates efforts with the U.S. Department of State to share information both across the U.S. federal government and with Canada and Mexico. As part of OHA, the National Biosurveillance Center (NBIC) integrates biomonitoring activities to provide a common operating picture.