Chicago—Bioterrorism is on the minds of infectious disease specialists these days. And as many gathered here at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the topic took on a new urgency in the wake of recent deaths and illness caused by anthrax-laced mail.
One of the most feared potential bioterrorist agents is smallpox, which was declared eradicated in nature in 1980. Because routine vaccinations ended in the United States in 1972, leaving the vast majority of people vulnerable to a deliberate release of smallpox by bioterrorists, the federal government has ordered 209 million doses of smallpox vaccine from a British company.
Stephenson J. Experts Focus on Infective Agents of Bioterrorism. JAMA. 2002;287(5):575-576. doi:10.1001/jama.287.5.575-JMN0206-2-1