Nearly nine years after the Sept. 11 and anthrax attacks, the nation still lacks a national strategy and designated leader to develop a national biosurveillance capability, according to the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog arm of Congress.

In the first of a series of forthcoming reports, GAO reviewed the biosurveillance programs, plans and strategies of 12 federal government departments with biosurveillance responsibilities. It found that agencies are struggling with skilled personnel shortages but have taken various actions to promote timely detection and situational awareness of threats. Still, coordination of federal efforts is lacking.

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