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Assessing the Threat of Bioterrorism: Are We Ready?

Health officials have long considered the possibility of bioterrorism, but since September 11 preparation for the possibility has gained greater urgency. Efforts to avert or cope with this threat have raised a number of concerns about the need to coordinate governmental activities, strengthen federal, state, and local programs, supplement the pharmaceutical stockpile, and examine regulatory and legal policies.
Bioterrorism is the release&#8212or simply the threat of releasing&#8212biological agents, such as viruses or bacteria, in order to influence government or intimidate civilians. Biological terrorism is one within a class of so-called weapons of mass destruction independent research on health and social issues.

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Assessing the Threat of Bioterrorism: Are We Ready?, Patricia Seliger Keenan and Janet Kline, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2002