The Anthrax Threat

Since anthrax infections claimed several lives and anthrax spores turned up at locations nationwide, worried Americans have been educating themselves about bioterrorism threats and possible precautions.

Read the NPR Science Desk anthrax primer, and how to deal with suspicious packages.

search More NPR News radio coverage of the anthrax threat.

Biohazard team member signals to a co-worker

A member of a biohazard team signals to a co-worker as she dons protective clothing prior to working on the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Nov. 6, 2001. The building, where an anthrax-laced letter to Sen. Tom Daschle was received, remains closed for decontamination.
Photo: Copyright 2001
Reuters Limited

In Depth

Under Quarantine
Public health officials are planning how to deal with a contagious disease used as a bioterrorist weapon. In the process, they're weighing civil liberties against measures such as quarantines.
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Risk Assessment
The chances of dying of cancer or in a car crash are far greater than from succumbing to anthrax, but our perceptions of the anthrax threat are magnified. NPR's Richard Harris reports.
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Anthrax Origins
Some experts are convinced Iraq -- or another foreign government -- is the source of the anthrax used to terrorize the United States. Others suspect domestic origins. NPR looks at the possibilities.
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History of Biological Warfare
Bioterrorism isn't a modern-day phenomenon; some say anthrax has been with us since biblical times. Find out more about the history of biowarfare.
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An Anthrax Primer
NPR's Science Desk answers some frequently asked questions about anthrax, the deadly bacterium that has caused a scare in several states.
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Anthrax and the Mail
NPR offers tips for evaluating and dealing with suspicious letters or packages in light of the anthrax scare.
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'You’re Supposed To Go Get Tested'
Exclusively for, NPR's Julie Rovner reports on her personal brush with the anthrax threat on Capitol Hill.
Expanded Coverage

Other Resources

Suspicious Mail Alert poster

The United States Postal Service issued this poster explaining what to do upon receiving suspicious mail.
Photo: U.S. Postal Service
Click for enlargement (Adobe Acrobat required)

• FBI and photos of anthrax-laced letters sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, NBC's Tom Brokaw and the New York Post.

• United States Postal Service

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anthrax information Web site and CDC tips on detecting and dealing with suspicious packages

• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

• Journal of the American Medical Association

• Johns Hopkins University's Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies