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Rep. Brooks Focuses On Biodefense, Public Health

hazmat

Firefighters from the 96th Test Wing hose down Airmen as part of the decontamination process at the end of a hazardous material portion of an exercise Feb. 22 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The chemical, biological, nuclear response exercise tested the procedures of emergency response, explosive ordnance disposal, emergency management and bioenvironmental agencies among others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) introduced a bill to strengthen the nation’s biodefense resources.  The measure prepares the country for emergencies that include infectious disease, natural disasters, and chemical and biological attacks.

Brooks says her experience with an anthrax hoax when she worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Indiana heightened her awareness on the issue.

She says this bill reauthorizes funding.

“To make sure we have what are called strategic national stockpiles of vaccines, of personal protective gear, of the right diagnostic equipment, to be prepared,” says Brooks.

It would also give money to states for training and coordinate national disaster medical teams.

Brooks says the government partners with the private sector to invest and create vaccines. She says influenza is likely the biggest threat.

“It is sometime difficult to have the right vaccines for the flu, we saw this year some difficulty with the treatment we had for the flu,” says Brooks. “We had a massive number of deaths this year across the country from the flu.”

The bill recently passed out of committee. Brooks hopes to get it to the floor before the end of September.

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