Combating the Terror of Terrorism; August 2002; Scientific American Magazine; by Ezra S. Susser, Daniel B. Herman and Barbara Aaron; 8 Page(s)
On September 11, 2001, the U.S. suffered the worst terrorist attacks in its history. The destruction of the World Trade Center's twin towers was quickly followed by bioterrorism, in the form of a series of anthrax-tainted letters that killed five people and shut down the U.S. Capitol. The American response was swift, with war in Afghanistan and major appropriations for military defense. Another reaction was a welcome infusion of funding to bolster the chronically underfinanced national public health infrastructure.
Much of this spending will go toward reinvigorating infectious disease epidemiology, and this effort will improve our capacity both to detect new pathogens and to control infectious disease outbreaks. Preparedness not only defends the population against biological attacks but puts the medical community in a better position to react to natural outbreaks, such as HIV and West Nile virus. Another important response to terrorism, however, is attention to a vital medical component of national defense: the public's mental health.