News of the WeekBIOWARFARE

Did Bioweapons Test Cause a Deadly Smallpox Outbreak?

Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2116-2117
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2116

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Summary

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- A preliminary report that a 1971 smallpox outbreak in the former Soviet Union was triggered by a secret bioweapon field test has sparked a heated debate--and some nasty backbiting--among the small circle of bioterrorism experts. The outbreak shows that an aerosol attack with smallpox could actually kill, and it suggests that the Soviets turned an extremely deadly smallpox strain into a weapon, a smallpox expert said at a meeting here last weekend.