Surgeon General Blasts CDC Labs
As A 'National Disgrace'


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters Health) - US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said that the United States should be "ashamed of the condition of the laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.'' The labs are out-of-date and poorly equipped, he said, "and these are laboratories that are relied upon around the world.''
Satcher, who held an impromptu press briefing at the American Medical Association House of Delegates meeting here, said "the laboratories had no power for 15 hours during the early days" of the anthrax bioterrrorism attacks.
Satcher, who previously served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the whole US public health system needs an infusion of cash. "I support the proposal by Senators Frist and Kennedy to boost the public budget by $3.2 billion.''  The Bush administration is asking for an increase of $1.5 billion.
Beyond problems at CDC headquarters, Satcher said that all public health labs--state and local--need to be re-tooled and updated. "There are local public health labs that don't have fax machines, that have no computers so they cannot receive e-mail updates," he said.
Moreover, Satcher said, "We need to train more epidemiologists. It's my understanding that there are 10 states that have no trained epidemiologists in their health departments."
Satcher, who is a member of the AMA House of Delegates, was a featured speaker during a session on bioterrorism.

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