Bioterrorism is an emerging public health and infection control threat. Potential biological agents include smallpox, anthrax, plague, tularemia, botulinum toxin, brucellosis, Q fever, viral encephalitis, hemorrhagic fever, and staphylococcal enterotoxin B. An understanding of the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and management of the more likely candidate agents is critical to limiting morbidity and mortality from a biological event. Effective response requires an increased index of suspicion for unusual diseases or syndromes, with prompt reporting to health authorities to facilitate recognition of an outbreak and subsequent intervention. Hospital epidemiology programs will play a crucial role in this effort.