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Vaccine shortages and distribution problems during the 2004-2005 influenza season raised concerns about the nation's ability to respond to a worldwide influenza epidemic--or influenza pandemic--which many experts believe to be inevitable.
In September and October 2001, letters laced with Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores were sent through the mail to two U.S. senators and to members of the media. These letters led to the first U.S. cases of anthrax disease related to bioterrorism.
In the fall of 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to news media personnel and congressional officials, leading to the first cases of anthrax infection related to an intentional release of anthrax in the United States.