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July 4, 1980

Another good year ('79-80) for epidemiology

JAMA. 1980;244(1):11-17. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010007003

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As the 1950s got under way, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were in a deep freeze. Americans were worried about the possibility of Russia resorting to biological warfare. Partly as a response to these concerns, the federal Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) was created.

As the 1980s get under way, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics again are at a standoff. Americans are worried about unconfirmed reports of both Bacillus anthracis escaping from a Soviet biological warfare research center in Sverdlovsk and of Russian use of chemical weapons in Afghanistan.

Thus, US-USSR relations and fears seem unchanged, but the same cannot be said of EIS activities.

The following summaries, focusing on a few of the more than 150 reports on epidemiologic investigations submitted to the recent EIS annual conference held at the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, illustrate how varied the