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November 28, 2001

Bioterrorism on the Home FrontA New Challenge for American Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

JAMA. 2001;286(20):2595-2597. doi:10.1001/jama.286.20.2595

On October 4, 2001, it was announced that a 63-year-old man had been hospitalized in Palm Beach County, Florida, with inhalational anthrax.1 This was the first recognized case of inhalational anthrax in the United States since 1976, and the first in US history to result from an intentional human act. As such, it ushered in a new era for the United States, one in which the hypothetical threat of lethal bioterrorism has become a stark reality. Importantly, the juxtaposition of this event with the vicious terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, despite no proven connection at this time, has resulted in a heightened state of concern in the United States and in other countries.

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