Biosecurity Interventions

Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question

Andrew Lakoff
Stephen J. Collier
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/lako14606
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  • Book Info
    Biosecurity Interventions
    Book Description:

    In recent years, new disease threats-such as SARS, avian flu, mad cow disease, and drug-resistant strains of malaria and tuberculosis-have garnered media attention and galvanized political response. Proposals for new approaches to "securing health" against these threats have come not only from public health and medicine but also from such fields as emergency management, national security, and global humanitarianism.

    This volume provides a map of this complex and rapidly transforming terrain. The editors focus on how experts, public officials, and health practitioners work to define what it means to "secure health" through concrete practices such as global humanitarian logistics, pandemic preparedness measures, vaccination campaigns, and attempts to regulate potentially dangerous new biotechnologies.

    As the contributions show, despite impressive activity in these areas, the field of "biosecurity interventions" remains unstable. Many basic questions are only beginning to be addressed: Who decides what counts as a biosecurity problem? Who is responsible for taking action, and how is the efficacy of a given intervention to be evaluated? It is crucial to address such questions today, when responses to new problems of health and security are still taking shape. In this context, this volume offers a form of critical and reflexive knowledge that examines how technical efforts to increase biosecurity relate to the political and ethical challenges of living with risk.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51177-3
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. CHAPTER ONE The Problem of Securing Health
    (pp. 7-32)
    Stephen J. Collier and Andrew Lakoff

    In 2007 the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its annual World Health Report, entitled “A Safer Future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century.”¹ The report began by noting the success of public health measures during the twentieth century in dealing with great microbial scourges such as cholera and smallpox. But in recent decades, it continued, there has been an alarming shift in the “delicate balance between humans and microbes.”² A series of factors — demographic changes, economic development, global travel and commerce, and conflict — have “heightened the risk of disease outbreaks,” ranging from emerging infectious diseases such...

  4. CHAPTER TWO From Population to Vital System NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE CHANGING OBJECT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
    (pp. 33-60)
    Andrew Lakoff

    In early 1976, health officials warned the Ford administration that a new strain of influenza had appeared in the United States and threatened to become a deadly pandemic. A soldier had died in Fort Dix, and others at the base were infected with the virus. Experts and officials gathered and quickly recommended a plan of action to the president: an urgent, intensive program to immunize the entire U.S. population before the next flu season, at an estimated cost of $135 million. Such a program had never been tried before — indeed, it had only recently become technically feasible. But given...

  5. CHAPTER THREE Redesigning Syndromic Surveillance for Biosecurity
    (pp. 61-88)
    Lyle Fearnley

    During the 1990s, amid proliferating fears of new diseases and bioterrorism, United States defense planners conceptualized public health infrastructure as a bulwark of national security. In an exemplary formulation, global security analyst Christopher Chyba argued that the developing threat of bioterrorism demanded a national “strategy of public health surveillance.”¹ The apparent proliferation of biological weapons among nonstate groups and individuals rendered traditional policies of counterproliferation and deterrence ineffective. Chyba and others argued that novel surveillance systems — operating within public health infrastructure — must detect outbreaks, coordinate ameliorative responses, and geographically locate release points for law enforcement.² Moreover, this was...

  6. CHAPTER FOUR How Did the Smallpox Vaccination Program Come About? TRACING THE EMERGENCE OF RECENT SMALLPOX VACCINATION THINKING
    (pp. 89-120)
    Dale A. Rose

    In December 2002 President George W. Bush, in light of persistent advocacy and a gathering consensus within the public health and national security communities about the dangers of biological threats such as smallpox, announced the enactment of the Smallpox Vaccination Program (SVP).¹ The somber tone of the president’s announcement reflected a particularly unwelcome irony: smallpox — the only infectious disease successfully to have been eradicated (some twenty-plus years earlier) on a global scale through purposive, organized human intervention — had begun to reappear, but in a new guise. There were still no cases of smallpox in individuals; instead there came...

  7. CHAPTER FIVE Disease as Security Threat CRITICAL REFLECTIONS ON THE GLOBAL TB EMERGENCY
    (pp. 121-146)
    Erin Koch

    Once believed to be under medical control, tuberculosis is currently one of the primary infectious causes of adult deaths worldwide. In 1993, in an unprecedented move, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Global Tuberculosis Emergency. This international alert was issued to raise concern about the dramatic rise of tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the late 1980s and early 1990s worldwide, and to urge public health officials at local, regional and national levels to put tuberculosis back on the map.¹

    In response to the emergency, the WHO first recommended a program of short-course chemotherapy that evolved into a highly...

  8. CHAPTER SIX Vital Mobility and the Humanitarian Kit
    (pp. 147-172)
    Peter Redfield

    As numerous commentators have noted, graphic moments of human suffering elsewhere play a significant role in contemporary moral and political imagination.¹ Once reported and framed as a humanitarian emergency, disasters worldwide now regularly elicit calls for action, and both the affected communities and those experiencing anguish secondhand through the wonders of global media commonly expect a response. But what might it actually entail to try to protect the well-being of distant populations? What techniques and logics might be involved, in order for the expectation of a response to become a norm? And how might they relate to security concerns focused...

  9. CHAPTER SEVEN Mapping the Multiplicities of Biosecurity
    (pp. 173-194)
    Nick Bingham and Steve Hinchliffe

    Biosecurity has become a familiar term in policymaking circles over the past few years. Its meanings, problems, and practices however have varied significantly. In Europe, for example, biosecurity has emerged primarily in relation to attempts to manage the movement of agricultural pests and diseases. The focus has been on individual farm-based practices, including emergency measures to contain outbreaks and techniques to prevent infection of livestock. In contrast, in Australasia and other places — mainly islands — where the effects of ecological colonization (the importation, often from Europe, of farming systems and species) have been most pronounced, biosecurity has figured mainly...

  10. CHAPTER EIGHT From Mad Cow Disease to Bird Flu TRANSFORMATIONS OF FOOD SAFETY IN FRANCE
    (pp. 195-226)
    Frédéric Keck

    In this chapter I argue that the term “biosecurity,” which has appeared recently in discussions on the avian influenza pandemic, should be inserted into the scientific controversies between experts, rather than criticized from the outside as an apparatus of hegemonic power, or taken as a self-evident technique of protection. I show that, in France, the avian flu crisis was understood in terms of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy crisis (known as mad cow disease), and raised similar controversies between experts: in particular, it divided the veterinarians, considered as defending the interests of animal husbandry, and the physicians, considered as promoting a...

  11. CHAPTER NINE Biodefense CONSIDERING THE SOCIOTECHNICAL DIMENSION
    (pp. 227-256)
    Kathleen M. Vogel

    In U.S. biosecurity policymaking, biodefense activities and government transparency have had a long and contentious relationship dating back several decades.¹ In 2001 (exactly one week prior to the U.S. anthrax attacks), these tensions were reignited when the New York Times published a story alleging that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) funded and carried out several secret biodefense projects that could be considered as offensive projects, and therefore, in contravention to U.S. treaty commitments under the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC).² The controversial projects, referred to as Project Jefferson, Project Bacchus, and Project Clear...

  12. CHAPTER TEN Anticipations of Biosecurity
    (pp. 257-278)
    Carlo Caduff

    In the United States, a series of recent events, including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing, and still unresolved, discovery of the mailing of four letters containing anthrax, have come to serve as stable points of reference vindicating the apparent necessity of ever more biosecurity initiatives.¹ These events are commonly said to have wrought “a new sense of vulnerability” upon the post–Cold War era, prompting the U.S. government to initiate the Patriot Act and the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.² As is well known, the concerted legislative effort gave...

  13. AFTERWORD Episodes or Incidents SEEKING SIGNIFICANCE
    (pp. 279-284)
    Paul Rabinow

    The essays collected here display an extravagant range, depth, and scale of insights, reflections, and explorations covering an extensive array of topics. At first blush, these topics appear to form a quite heterogeneous set, if they form a set at all. That being said, these chapters and their topics cluster around the question of what to make of a burgeoning constellation of experts and the frequently incongruous (or inconclusive) claims to expertise that these experts produce. That clustering of claims and interpretations grouping episodes and incidents so as to make sense of them operates at a second-order level. These papers...

  14. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 285-286)
  15. LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 287-290)
  16. Index
    (pp. 291-308)