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WITH IOWA’S HEAVY RELIANCE ON agriculture and related food safety issues, bioterrorism is a major concern and issue among many Iowans. Although Americans across the nation have concerns about bioterrorism, Iowans in rural areas – especially those who have been through the “Mad Cow” incident and similar situations – are aware of the impact, especially economically, of consumer concerns about food safety and security. 

Federal animal disease complex in Ames: years efforts have been made, especially by Harkin and Grassley, to modernize the facilities. The center also has received more attention as concerned increased after 9/11 about potential bioterrorism threats, as well as threatening activities by radical animal rights groups. In addition, Harkin, Grassley and Boswell (who then represented Ames in Congress) joined together in 2001 to encourage increased funding for the center because of concerns about Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease. 

UPDATED INFORMATION: In mid-February (2/16/03), the Iowa Department of Health distributed a tabloid in Sunday newspapers across the state titled “Bioterrorism Preparedness in Iowa.” The first sentence said, “There is little risk of smallpox in Iowa, and there are no plans at this time to vaccinate the general population. Still, the risk is real, and the department and its partners across the state are working to prepare Iowa for the highly unlikely appearance of smallpox.” The tabloid indicated that Iowa hospitals have been broken into sixsmallpox planning regions” to prepare medical teams to respond to a potential attack… The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that terrorist groups could try to contaminate food supplies and has urged countries to strengthen their surveillance. In a special report, the U. N. health agency said an attack using chemical or biological agents in food could lead to people dying or contracting serious illnesses such as cancer, and warned that the potential insertion of pesticides, viruses and parasites in food could be “a way of deliberately harming civilian populations.” The WHO said it had not received any specific warnings of such an attack. (BBC News,, 2/7)  


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