The American Society of Microbiology (ASM) is a non-profit professional organization of scientists and researchers with an interest in microbiology in the US. This organization has helped to shape US policy toward infectious diseases directly, and also indirectly by fostering communication among its members.
The ASM tracks congressional legislation, and last month I took a look at the bills it was tracking in Congress. You would think these would be dealing with things like MRSA, which is killing around 40,000 people each year in the US. Or pneumonia, which kills even more. But the diseases that you and I contract are barely represented in legislation. Here's what Congress is working on:
You may notice a pattern - almost all Congressional attention (and much of our funding) is going to combat bioterrorism.
While security is always a good thing, I have to ask, just how dangerous is this problem? We have already had multiple attacks which have succeeded in killing....about 5 people. That's fewer people who die in car accidents on a busy labor day weekend in New England. People have joked that the best way to get our medical community to address infectious diseases is to have al-Queda try to weaponize them. Who knows, maybe they have done this already, and that's why so many people are dying of MRSA, and developing chronic illness from Blastocystis.
Yes, what if somebody did something that killed 40,000 people. Oh, wait. We already have a bunch of diseases like that. And the ones we know about are just the tip of the iceberg. For every MRSA-like disease, there's another one out there producing chronic illness, sapping the economy, and our country's strength.