How U.S. views threats has changed over time
said there have been dramatic changes in recent years in how the United States views biological threats.
Franz said that in the Cold War, it was largely a battlefield concern that one army might unleash biological weapons on another. In the 1990s, worries about biological threats began to include terrorists.
Then in 2008, federal author- ities accused Bruce Ivins, a former U.S. Army microbiologist, of sending a series of anthraxlaced letters that killed five people in fall 2001. Ivins committed suicide in 2008. Franz said the case changed the focus to “insiders.”
Even animal diseases that don’t transfer to humans could cause billions of dollars in the damage to the U.S. economy in a matter of weeks. Barbara Drolet, a U.S. Agriculture Department microbiologist, said the country needs to spend more to diagnose animal diseases and to develop the ability to quickly produce vaccines.
“This is absolutely a threat to the United States,” Drolet said.