The September 11, 2001 attacks forced the United States to reassess the possibility of a mass-casualty bioterror event. If terrorists could coordinate the destruction of four large commercial aircraft, two of the tallest skyscrapers in the country, and an entire section of the Pentagon in a single day, killing thousands of people, then they might eventually release a catastrophically lethal biological agent. Indeed, shortly after September 11, an unknown assailant sent anthrax spores to congressional offices and other targets, causing several fatalities and sowing widespread fear of being poisoned through the mail. Barely a year later, the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and, after that, avian influenza, woke the public to a pandemic threat of a scale not seen since the million-death influenza strains that circulated in 1968-1969 and 1957-1958 (and perhaps even the 1918-1919 Spanish flu, which killed 40 million people worldwide)...

 

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