This is a fictional account of what could potentially happen in the event of an anthrax attack, presented at the First National Symposium on the Medical and Public Health Response to Bioterrorism, in Virginia, in 1999. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offices in five U.S. cities have received warnings of an imminent bioterrorist attack. Each threat indicated that a 'shower of anthrax would rain on U.S. cities,' unless certain demands were met immediately. One of these calls was in Northeast, a large city on the Eastern Seaboard with a metropolitan population of 2 million. The threats were credible, but no information was relayed to city officials in Northeast or elsewhere. This scenario is ominous. Such an epidemic would create extraordinary challenges for a modern American city. However, there is no need to give in to the ending of this story. Practical, modest preparedness efforts could make a difference and change the outcome. Many of the most useful efforts may be the result of ingenuity and depend on collaboration of experts from many disciplines.
Emerging Infectious Diseases, v.5, no.4, p. 556-560