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Volume 9, Number 5—May 2003

Perspective

Planning against Biological Terrorism: Lessons from Outbreak Investigations

David A. Ashford*Comments to Author , Robyn M. Kaiser*, Michael E. Bales*, Kathleen Shutt*, Amee Patrawalla*, Andre McShan*, Jordan W. Tappero*, Bradley A. Perkins*, and Andrew L. Dannenberg*
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Table 1

Epidemic Intelligence Service field investigations involving unknown agents and potential agents of bioterrorism, 1988–1999

Agent Frequency % of investigations (n = 1,099)
Unknown infectious agenta
41
3.7
Vibrio choleresis
18
1.6
Yersinia pestis
11
1.0
Viral hemorrhagic fever virus
7
0.6
Bacillus anthracis
3
0.3
Clostridium botulinum
3
0.3
Coxiella burnetii
1
0.1
Francisella tularensis
1
0.1
Total 85 7.7

aIn these cases, the outbreak was considered to be caused by an infectious agent because of the characteristics of the illness and outbreak.

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