We know the history. First a photographer goes sick, then he is diagnosed with inhalation anthrax. Just before he dies a second man is found with the same disease. They both work in the same offices. One victim is suspicious — two is confirmation. This outbreak was deliberate. With the dust of the World Trade Center still settling in New York, it's time to panic.

In such situations events are difficult to control. Tom Brokaw is the anchorman at NBC Nightly News, a station that had received anthrax, which had already infected a colleague with the skin version of the disease. With millions tuned in for information he held a jar of tablets and announced 'In Cipro we trust'. The effect was dramatic. US stocks of the antibiotic all but vanished as people rushed to get a prescription so that they could hold their own stockpile, or start taking...

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