Bioterrorism research blends human and veterinary medicine

By Susan Aiello • Published: October 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

In the fall of 2001, seven letters containing anthrax powder caused the deaths of five people, disrupted the United States Postal Service and reignited interest in organisms used for germ warfare. A major concern at the time was that physicians might not readily recognize anthrax, which is largely associated with domestic animals and their handlers.

The same can be said for many agents of bioterrorism, such as the organisms that cause plague, glanders, tularemia and brucellosis, also known as undulant fever. Because these infections can be readily transmitted from animals to people, they are often more familiar to veterinarians than to physicians. For this reason, veterinarians remain at the forefront of bioterrorism research.

Together, scientists in human and veterinary medicine are working to make sure people, and animals, stay safe.