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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160
Fax (410) 516-5251

November 2, 1999
CONTACT: Robin Rooks

Bioterrorism: Are We Ready?

Terrorism has taken on a new, deadly form: biological warfare. Biological agents such as smallpox, anthrax, and the plague can now be used to debilitate entire cities within weeks. Are we in danger? Are we immune? Are we prepared?

Donald A. Henderson, director of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, will give a talk on bioterrorism at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Carriage House at Evergreen, 4545 N. Charles Street in Baltimore. The talk is free and is sponsored by the Friends of the Johns Hopkins Libraries.

Troubling cases point to the growing research on, and development and production of, bioterrorist weapons by various groups around the world. Iraq acknowledges mounting an ambitious and sophisticated bioweapons program. The Japanese terrorist group, Aum Shinrikyo, made at least nine attempts to aerosolize anthrax and botulism throughout central Tokyo and attempted to obtain the Ebola virus. Russian defectors have documented the existence of an extensive Soviet bioweapons program, a program later confirmed by President Boris Yeltsin. Henderson will examine U.S. and international bioterrorism defense policies, such as surveillance, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, epidemiological investigations, quarantine, vaccination and treatment.

From 1966 to 1977, Henderson directed the World Health Organization's global smallpox eradication campaign and is widely credited for the world-wide eradication of smallpox in 1980. He was instrumental in initiating WHO's global program of immunization in 1974, which now vaccinates 80 percent of the world's children against six major diseases. He is currently working to eradicate poliomyelitis.

From 1977 through 1990, Henderson served as dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He spent five years as a senior health policy advisor for the federal government until he rejoined the Hopkins faculty in 1995. He currently holds appointments in the departments of Epidemiology and International Health and directs the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, which fosters the development of medical and public health policies and structures needed to protect the civilian population from bioterrorism.

A reception will follow Henderson's talk. The event is free and open to the public. For information about the program or to RSVP, call 410-516-8327.

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