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Division of Specialized Information Services Creates Biological Warfare Site

Like it or not, the American public has had to school itself in recent months about anthrax, smallpox and other instruments of biological warfare. Now, a new website at the National Library of Medicine culls the best resources on the topic and makes them available at no charge to computer users everywhere.

The site, located under "Special Topics" at www.sis.nlm.nih.gov, features a short description of biological warfare in general. It then examines eight specific agents: anthrax, botulism, brucellosis, bubonic plague, Q fever, smallpox, tularemia and viral hemorrhagic fevers. Under these subheads, users will find descriptions of transmission, symptoms and treatment of the diseases.

There are also links to online resources at the National Library of Medicine (such as the MEDLINE, MedlinePlus and TOXLINE databases), plus those compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army.

The Division's "Biological Warfare" site includes references to recent journal articles on the topic, all part of the NLM collection and available via interlibrary loan. This timely site concludes with a listing of public and private Internet resources on the general topic of biological warfare, and selected online resources in Spanish.

The National Library of Medicine is at 8600 Rockville Pike, on the grounds of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The Library is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday; and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Because of heightened security, parking at the NIH is difficult. Go to www.nlm.nih.gov/about/visitor.html for directions and information about security measures. Metro service (Medical Center Station on the Red Line) is convenient.