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October 4, 2022
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Smallpox: Weapon of Terror
Produced by: Sesh Kannan
Dan Grossman
For years experts have been warning that discontents of all stripes might make disease part of the arsenal of terror. Of all the deadly germs that might be used by terrorists there is one more that experts worry about. It is smallpox. Once a major scourge of humanity, the killer smallpox was vanquished in 1977. But some experts worry that cultures of the smallpox could have fallen, or someday could fall, into the hands of terrorists. If this material was used to infect a single human, it could launch a plague. Producer Daniel Grossman takes a look at the deadly disease and talks to the people who might combat it should it return.

Program Credits

Smallpox: Weapon of Terror was produced by Daniel Grossman. We would like to thank Random House for permission to use excerpts from the book 'Of Plymouth Plantation' edited by Samuel Morison, the San Diego Historical Society for permission to use excerpts from the book 'Stranger than fiction: Vignettes from San Diego History' by Richard W. Crawford. The readings were arranged by Richard Paul and read by Andy Clemense and Porter Koontz. We would also like to thank ABC Radio News, the Special Media archives at the National Archives and the National Library of Medicine for the use of archival material.


Assessing Risks, Chemical, Biological, Even Nuclear
Since being jolted by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the persistent, mysterious spread of anthrax, the government has been struggling to discern what weapon, if any, might be aimed at the nation next

Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies: Smallpox
Smallpox, because of its high case-fatality rates and transmissibility, now represents one of the most serious bioterrorist threats to the civilian population

Chemical and Biological Warfare : The Cruelest Weapons (Issues in Focus)
by Laurence P. Pringle, 2000
This book provides background on the dangers present, as well as of the social and political factors that have spread them even more widely than nuclear weapons

Lethal Mists : An Introduction to the Natural and Military Sciences of Chemical, Biological Warfare and Terrorism
by Eric R. Taylor, 2000
This book presents a nontechnical narrative of chemical, biological warfare and terrorism (CBWT) for general readers

Scourge : The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox
by Jonathan B. Tucker, 2001
Tucker describes the ravages caused by the disease and succinctly traces its role in history: its use as a biological weapon and the World Health Organization's remarkable battle against naturally occurring smallpox

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Programs by Sesh Kannan

Programs by Dan Grossman

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