- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A
U.S. intelligence report warned Americans Tuesday they were under growing
threat from infectious diseases brewing in the rest of the world.
- "Senior policymakers are becoming increasingly concerned
about the implications of growing infectious disease threats for U.S. citizens
at home and abroad, for U.S. armed forces deployed overseas," said
John Gannon, chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
- He released a new National Intelligence Estimate report,
"The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the
United States," at a symposium at the Smithsonian Institution.
- Asia was likely to see a major increase in infectious
disease deaths driven by the spread of HIV and AIDS, replacing Africa as
the epicenter of the disease before 2015, he said.
- At least 30 previously unknown diseases have appeared
globally since 1973, including HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Ebola hemorrhagic
fever and the encephalitis-related Nipah virus that emerged in Indonesia
last year, Gannon said. "Many are still incurable," he added.
- Twenty well-known infectious diseases such as tuberculosis,
malaria, and cholera have reemerged or spread since 1973, some reappearing
in "deadlier, drug-resistant forms," Gannon said.
- Americans were at risk because the United States was
a major hub of global travel, immigration and commerce and had a large
civilian and military presence overseas, the report said.
- Infectious diseases killed at least 170,000 Americans
a year and were "likely to continue to account for more military hospital
admissions than battlefield injuries," the report said.
- At highest risk will be U.S. military forces deployed
in humanitarian or peacekeeping operations in developing countries, the
- The probability of a "bioterrorist attack"
against Americans was likely to grow as more countries and groups developed
biological warfare capability, the report said.
- "Although there is no evidence that the recent West
Nile virus outbreak in New York City was caused by foreign state or non-state
actors, the scare and several earlier instances of suspected bio-terrorism
showed the confusion and fear they can sow regardless of whether or not
they are validated," the report said.
- An outbreak of West Nile-like virus killed five people
and made 50 ill in New York last year. The virus is common in parts of
Africa and Asia but had never before been reported in the United States.
- "Many infectious diseases -- most recently, the
West Nile virus -- originate outside U.S. borders and are introduced by
international travelers, immigrants, returning U.S. military personnel,
or imported animals and foodstuffs," the report said.
- The National Intelligence Council provides analysis on
national security issues as part of the U.S. intelligence community under
CIA Director George Tenet.
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
Site Served by TheHostPros