In the fall of 2001, a bioterrorism attack using letters laced with anthrax spores killed five U.S. citizens. Termed “Amerithrax” by the FBI, the attacks stunned the nation and elevated domestic bioterrorism into the public consciousness. Bioterrorism and biowarfare are closely related activities that use biological organisms as weapons. Both exploit microbes or toxins for their deadly or disruptive effect; both are destined to remain important topics of both policy analysis and science communication. However, bioterror-ism and biowarfare generally differ in a number of important characteristics. These differences might include motivation for use, resources necessary to execute an attack, likely perpetrators, potential targets, delivery strategies, and potential effect.

Biowarfare is a state-sponsored activity and is defined as the intentional use of microorganisms or toxins derived from ...

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