PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine has assembled a list of Web sites providing the best available information on anthrax and bioterrorism as well as other agents that are most likely to be used.

“Crisis communications and terrorism experts agree that reliable and readily accessible sources of information are among the most powerful tools for combating public panic and the psychological effects of terrorism,” explains Tom Besser, a professor, board certified veterinary microbiologist, and director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. “This is especially important when it comes to the complex world of bioterrorism.”

Dr. Besser said the scientists, the media, and the public must work together to inform people where they can find the best information.

“A lack of expertise and poor media scrutiny of sources can frighten the general public and cause people to react negatively to relatively rare events that represent a very low risk to personal or public health,” said Dr. Besser. “I imagine this is exactly the effect a terrorist wants to create; a fear of the unknown supported by little or poor information disseminated widely and rapidly.”

“The good news,” says Dr. Besser, “is that it’s relatively easy for people to access excellent sources of information, educate themselves and their families, and reduce their fears and anxieties accordingly. As the American media spreads information about reliable sources of information, we become our own best protection.”

Dr. Besser along with veterinarians in the Washington State Veterinarian’s office and the Washington Department of Health offer the following as some of the best and most reliable sources of information on anthrax and bioterrorism available.

Anthrax specific

New York State Department of Health communicable disease fact sheet on anthrax:
http://www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/consumer/anthrax.htm

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Services anthrax fact sheet:
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/oa/pubs/anthrax.pdf

Texas Animal Health Commission anthrax informational brochure concerning agricultural animals in lay language:
http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/PRODUCTION/News/Press_Releases/Asking_About_Anthrax.pdf

Anthrax concerns in domestic cats
http://web.vet.cornell.edu/public/fhc/anthrax.html

General bioterrorism

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Public Health Emergency Preparedness, fact sheets
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/DocumentsApp/FactsAbout/FactsAbout.asp

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – Public Health Emergency Preparedness; Disease/agent specific information pertaining to two basic categories–biological agents/diseases and chemical agents:
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/Agent/Agentlist.asp

Public Health – Seattle & King County, communicable diseases and bioterrorism information with an extensive list of links to other valuable sources information on this subject:
http://www.metrokc.gov/health/bioterrorism/

American Veterinary Medical Association current information on terrorist attacks and communicable diseases affecting animals and humans:
http://www.avma.org/press/terrorist_attack/

Washington State Department of Health
http://www.doh.wa.gov/Alerts/BioTerrorism.htm