February 16, 1999
The national medical and public health communities, as yet, have not been fully apprised of the problem of bioterrorism and have so far been little involved either in threat assessment or response planning. To remedy this deficit, in February 1999 the National Symposium on Medical and Public Health Response to Bioterrorism brought together medical, public health, government, intelligence, and military experts to consider the following questions. Why are current concerns about bioterrorism real and not inflammatory? Why must the medical and public health communities address the issue of bioterrorism? Which biological threats warrant the greatest concern? What is the possible aftermath of an act of biological terrorism? By pursuing these inquiries through an interdisciplinary dialog, the National Symposium was the first event to bring key players responsible for coordinating a strategic response to an intentional epidemic among the civilian population.