Government's priorities

WASHINGTON - The Department of Health and Human Services has rapidly ramped up its bioterrorism efforts over the past four years, from $7 million in fiscal 1996 to $160 million budgeted for 1999.

For fiscal 2000 beginning next October, the Clinton administration has requested $230 million for a new bioterrorism initiative intended to improve disease surveillance and communications systems, establish regional laboratories, continue to establish a national pharmaceutical stockpile, conduct research into new vaccines and drugs, and expand the number of local emergency medical teams.