In this issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, numerous individuals involved in the public health aspect of the anthrax investigation document their experiences. Articles describe the epidemiologic and laboratory investigations, applied research findings, environmental assessment and remediation experiences, workplace safety issues, prophylaxis and clinical care information, international aspects, and collaborations between law enforcement and public health officials. The articles also highlight the widespread efforts made to identify the source of exposure and prevent illness among those exposed. While many of the individuals involved in this effort are acknowledged in these articles, many others are not, including the large numbers of medical, public health, law enforcement, and emergency response personnel throughout the country and the world who dealt with the numerous hoaxes perpetrated in the weeks following the attack. This issue also provides an opportunity to review the valuable lessons we have learned from these experiences. Foremost among them is the knowledge that we cannot afford to be complacent. Throughout the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as well as across other federal, state, and local agencies, we remain alert for the first evidence of a disease outbreak. Multiple systems are now in place, both in the United States and internationally, to detect initial cases. On the local level, clinicians and laboratorians play a key role in this process. Activities such as monitoring emergency room visits, pharmacy requests, calls to emergency response and poison control centers, and animal disease registries for unusual occurrences are also expanding.
Emerging Infectious Diseases (October 2002), v.8, no.10, p. 1013-14