Calling the chaos and lack of collaboration among various levels of government and agencies during Canada's SARS outbreak "an international embarrassment," a Ministry of Health panel called this week for a restructuring of Canada's public health system featuring an agency roughly modeled on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new agency would act as the "quarterback" in response to future outbreaks, said panel chairman David Naylor, dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine.

"We have a lot to atone for," Naylor said of Canada's response to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the subject of his group's 224-page report released Tuesday (October 7), following the Yom Kippur holiday.

"At issue is the fact that no doubt had we managed it better, there might have been fewer ill, fewer dying, better management—a long list of things would have been better controlled," said panel member Allison McGeer,...

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