and Public Health
Anthrax Scare of 2001", Kathleen A. Cornely, Providence
College. State University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center
for Case Study Teaching.
In the weeks following the September
11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, anthrax-laced envelopes were mailed to individuals in
government and the news media by an as-yet-unidentified
bioterrorist. Thousands were treated for exposure, and five people
were killed. At the same time, scientists solved the last
remaining pieces of the anthrax “puzzle,” and the mechanism of
infection of the anthrax toxin is now well understood. Developed
for a second-semester biochemistry course, this case presents
students with a wealth of biochemical, microbiological, and
immunological material to analyze while exploring important
societal issues related to national preparedness against
bioterrorist attacks, funding for biodefense research, and the use
and misuse of antibiotic therapy.
This case is appropriate for
undergraduate biochemistry, microbiology, and public health
A Case on Bioterrorism" Kari A. Mergenhagen, University at
Buffalo. State University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center
for Case Study Teaching.
This case study presents a fictitious
bio-terrorist plan to release anthrax in the United States.
Students are assigned character roles and, through research,
role-playing, and teamwork, develop a plan to minimize or avert
The case is appropriate for
courses designed for health professionals, general biology
courses, and social science courses.
Articles in "Taking Sides"
Public Health Be Given Sweeping Powers Over Individual Liberty
in a Bioterrorist Threat?" Levine, Carol. Taking
Sides: Bioethical Issues, eleventh edition.
- YES: Law and public health professor Lawrence O. Gostin states
that the threat of bioterrorism makes it imperative to reframe
the balance between individual interests and society's need to
protect itself so that the common good prevails. (from "Law and
Ethics in a Public Health Emergency", Hastings Center
Report, March-April 2002 ).
- NO: Law professor George J. Annas contends that taking human
rights seriously is our best defense against terrorism and
fosters public health on both a federal and global scale. (from
"Bioterrorism, Public Health, and Human Rights", Health Affairs,
Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002 (2:20)
A rancher in southwest Texas, part
of the “Anthrax triangle,” is interviewed. Anthrax is a common
animal pathogen in this region, where wet springs are followed by
hot dry summers. Animals ingest anthrax spores then sicken and die
quickly, bleeding from all orifices. The most recent case of
anthrax in this region was cutaneous anthrax. It occurred in a man
who skinned an animal known to have died of the disease. It is
unlikely that anyone could use animals with anthrax to create a
"Anthrax bioterror": Biology 6th Ed. CNN Ed 2002 (3:04)
The process by which anthrax is
weaponized is described. The goal is to produce spores that enter
the alveoli and move to lymph nodes in the chest where they
germinate. The three ways in which humans become infected are
discussed and the symptoms and treatment of inhalation anthrax are
described. Inhalation anthrax can be highly deadly; an accident at
a Soviet factory killed 65 people. Many lived some distance from
the factory. A vaccine exists which is 93 percent effective after
18 months of treatments.