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Volume 8, Number 10—October 2002
Bioterrorism-related Anthrax
Bioterrorism-related Anthrax

Collaboration Between Public Health and Law Enforcement: New Paradigms and Partnerships for Bioterrorism Planning and Response

Jay C. Butler*Comments to Author , Mitchell L. Cohen*, Cindy R. Friedman*, Robert M. Scripp†, and Craig G. Watz†
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; †Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington, D.C., USA;

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Differences in public health and law enforcement investigations

Characteristics Public health Law enforcement
Method of event recognition Event detected through public health surveillance or calls from clinicians Event announced by attacker or is evident
Challenges to event recognition Few clinical syndromes that are clearly the result of bioterrorist attack; difficulty distinguishing between disease of natural origin and bioterrorism attack Large number of hoaxes and noncredible threats not associated with an actual bioterrorist attack; delay in notification of possible event by public health; “copycat” threats or attacks (9)
Initial data collection Hypothesis generation, “shoe-leather epidemiology” Questioning of witnesses and suspects, follow-up of tips and intelligence information
Confirmatory data collection and analysis Controlled epidemiologic studies Collection and organization of evidence
Data validation Presentation for scientific peer review Indictment, arrest, and conviction
Goal of investigation Effective disease prevention and control measures Prevention and deterrence of future attacks

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The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.