"The list of agents that could pose the greatest public health risk in the event of a bioterrorist attack is short. However, although short, the list includes agents that, if acquired and properly disseminated, could cause a difficult public health challenge in terms of our ability to limit the numbers of casualties and control the damage to our cities and nation. The use of biological weapons has occurred sporadically for centuries, culminating in sophisticated research and testing programs run by several countries. Biological weapons proliferation is a serious problem that is increasing the probability of a serious bioterrorism incident. The accidental release of anthrax from a military testing facility in the former Soviet Union in 1979 and Iraq's admission in 1995 to having quantities of anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin ready to use as weapons have clearly shown that research in the offensive use of biological agents continued, despite the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Of the seven countries listed by the U.S. Department of State as sponsoring international terrorism, at least five are suspected to have biological warfare programs. There is no evidence at this time, however, that any state has provided biological weapons expertise to a terrorist organization."
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/
Emerging Infectious Diseases (July-August 1999), v.5, no.4, p.523-527