Review

The Looming Threat of Bioterrorism

Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1279-1282
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1279

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Abstract

Biological weapons have recently attracted the attention and the resources of the nation. Discerning the nature of the threat of bioweapons as well as appropriate responses to them requires greater attention to the biological characteristics of these instruments of war and terror. The dominant paradigm of a weapon as a nuclear device that explodes or a chemical cloud that is set adrift leaves us ill-equipped conceptually and practically to assess and thus to prevent the potentially devastating effects of bioterrorism. Strengthening the public health and infectious disease infrastructure is an effective step toward averting the suffering that could be wrought by a terrorist's use of a biological agent.

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