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The anthrax incidents during the fall of 2001 raised concerns about the nation's ability to respond to bioterrorist events and other public health threats. The incidents strained the public health system, including surveillance and laboratory workforce capacities, at the state and local levels.
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.
Amid growing concerns about a potential smallpox attack, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with 62 state, local, and territorial jurisdictions to implement the civilian part of the National Smallpox Vaccination Program.