The Biothreat Is Real — And We’re Not Ready, Report Says

Maggie Fox | NBC News | October 28, 2015

It's a scary scenario: A genetically engineered Nipah virus is sprayed into the air during a July 4th celebration in Washington, D.C., and across the country, killing more than 6,000 people. A badly prepared United States does almost nothing at first, and people die as officials scramble to get a grip on what happened.

Joseph I. Lieberman"We discovered later that other attacks had already begun elsewhere in the nation, using methods we have yet to identify that spread the disease among livestock in rural communities," the hypothetical chair of a joint Congressional committee says. "Delays in recognition — because most veterinarians and physicians had never seen Nipah virus — meant animals and people were sick for more than a week before we realized what had happened."

It's a made-up story line, but one that could happen, says former senator Joe Lieberman, who helped head a committee that wrote a report released Wednesday on the lack of preparedness for a biological attack or epidemic. "We wanted to start the report with something that got people's attention, that's not far-fetched," Lieberman told NBC News. "Based on our investigations, it's a plausible scenario"...