After 9/11, Anthrax Attacks Seemed Too Natural

September 1, 2011
by Maggie Fox
National Journal

Powdered doughnuts. A coffee table. Rolled-up dollar bills. Dead birds. Disposable underpants.

The suspect samples rolled in and public health officials, some working literally in converted closets, worked day and night to test them. The anthrax attacks that followed Sept. 11 tested the limits of the U.S. public health system and changed for a decade the way Americans looked at the mail carrier.

In the days that followed the Sept. 11  attacks, many bioterrorism experts wondered the same thing – was a biological attack next?  For years, these specialists had met, talking about the potential threat of smallpox, nerve gas, plague and Ebola virus. But the No. 1 suspect always was anthrax.


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