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B. Doctors Scramble to Learn About Bio-terrorism

Narrator: This is Science Today. With the threat of bio-terrorist attacks looming, the medical community is scrambling to educate themselves on diseases that have been virtually eradicated. Doctor Richard Jacobs, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California San Francisco, says there are several biological threats that the medical community is rushing to learn about. But sometimes, he says, information can be scarce.

Jacobs: There's a text of infectious diseases that's over 3,000 pages and there is half a page on smallpox because it's a disease that's been eradicated from the world from a natural standpoint. And the other diseases, for instance plague and pneumonic plague, there have been perhaps a half a dozen cases reported in 50 years of pneumonic plague.

Narrator: But Jacobs says just having a basic knowledge about these diseases is not enough.

Jacobs: We are having to educate ourselves not only about the disease and how to make the diagnosis, but about how to contain the disease should somebody show up on your doorstep with one of these illnesses.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.