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Biological warfare has been a threat to humanity since ancient times and crude attempts at bioterrorism have been a growing concern for several decades. In June of 1999, U.S. public health experts met at CDC headquarters and used this rationale to develop a list of critical biological agents for health preparedness. Category A agents are those that, if released effectively, would be expected to have a high overall public health impact. Category B agents present a somewhat lesser requirement for preparedness, whereas category C agents require vigilance to guard against their future development as threat agents, but can be adequately managed within the framework of the existing public health infrastructure. To understand current biological warfare medical countermeasures research strategy and progress within the United States, it is useful to review weapons of mass destruction (WMD) medical countermeasure research programs led by Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.
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