9:30 am EST - 11:00 am EST

Past Event

The Anthrax Scare and Bioterrorism

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

9:30 am - 11:00 am EST

The Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

The spread of anthrax through the mail created a home front threat never before faced by Americans.

Viewers and readers urgently turned to television and newspapers for information about what was happening and how they could avoid infection and possibly death from anthrax.

Among the questions for which the American public sought answers were:

  • Were the anthrax spores being spread by extremist Islamic terrorists or domestic sources?
  • Should people fearful of infection start taking Cipro or other antibiotics?
  • Could anthrax spores escape from sealed envelopes and contaminate other mail?
  • How many anthrax spores were required to cause infection?
  • Was the public health system equipped to deal with the threat?
  • Are Americans likely to face even more deadly bio-threats?

The forum will discuss how the news media dealt with these and many other questions, particularly whether the coverage provided basic information Americans needed to protect their own safety and whether the government and the public health system provided clear and factual details.