TB Report Finds a Breakdown at the Intersection of Homeland Security and Public Health

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Yesterday, at the request of Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), the Majority Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security released a comprehensive report examining the government's difficulties in handling the XDR-TB case and the government's current capabilities to manage an incident such as this. The report, titled "XDR-TB 2007: A Breakdown at the Intersection of Homeland Security and Public Health," finds that many of the problems experienced during the Andrew Speaker case have still not been remedied.

In addition to providing a comprehensive timeline of events, the report explores the interactions between the Department of Homeland Security and the CDC regarding public health security issues, identifies weaknesses in homeland security processes designed to prevent persons of interest from entering into the U.S., and makes recommendations for improvements to better secure America.

Thompson issued the following statement with the release of the report: "This was a real world incident, and there was a breakdown at the intersection of homeland security and public health. The government has numerous plans and policies in place to secure our communities, but they just didn't follow the playbook. This certainly raises questions about our homeland security if the government had this much trouble countering TB, let alone countering terrorism."

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats plans to examine public health and pandemic preparedness issues in a public hearing later this month.

Source: Committee on Homeland Security