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January 28, 1998

Biological Warfare and the ‘Hiroshima' Issue of JAMA—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;279(4):274-275. doi:10.1001/jama.279.4.271

In Reply.—In 1983, JAMA began publishing an annual issue the first week of August to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima for the specific purpose of preventing nuclear war. For many years, these annual issues focused on nuclear warfare, preventing the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons, and the biology of radiation exposure. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, other war-related threats to public health became major concerns: civil wars and conflicts with civilians, not combatants, comprising the casualties; massive populations of refugees and displaced persons; terrorism; and state-sponsored human torture. These coupled with a reemergence of chemical and biological agents as real tools of war served as the impetus to broaden the editorial focus of the annual Hiroshima issue. The 1997 issue was devoted to the threat of biological warfare, which like nuclear warfare uses a weapon of mass destruction to harm or kill civilians.

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