NLM launches biological warfare site

The National Library of Medicine recently launched a Web site responding to the public clamor for more information on anthrax, smallpox and biological warfare.

The site (www.sis.nlm.nih.gov/Tox/
biologicalwarfare.htm
), which launched Jan. 7, features a short, general description of biological warfare and includes detailed information and links regarding eight specific agents:

    * Anthrax.

    * Botulism.

    * Brucellosis.

    * Bubonic plague.

    * Q fever.

    * Smallpox.

    * Tularemia.

    * Viral hemorrhagic fevers.

Under the subheads for each, users can find descriptions of transmission, symptoms and treatment of the diseases.

Jeanne Goshorn, chief of the NLM's biomedical information services branch, said discussions had occurred up to two years ago about launching separate chemical warfare and biological warfare sites, but at the time, officials decided to proceed only with the chemical site. Following the events of Sept. 11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, "we decided to revisit the issue of doing [the biological warfare] one, too," she said.

To lead users to more information about each topic, the site also features links to NLM's online resources, including Medline, Medline Plus and Toxline databases, as well as others compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army. The site also lists external Internet resources on the general topic of biological warfare and has selected online resources in Spanish.

The site includes references to recent journal articles, which are part of the NLM collection and available via interlibrary loan.

The site attracted more than 220 users during its first week open to the public, Goshorn said, adding that the site will be updated regularly as new information is made available and older articles become outdated.

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