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In the 1990s, a new microbial threat to America began to occupy the minds of the US government and its policy-makers, and would eventually be filtered into the public consciousness by the mass media. The anthrax letters bioterrorism attacks of 2001 were by no means an unexpected event: America had been preparing for such an eventuality for over ten years. This presentation will explore how the discourse around bioterrorism became threaded through the discourse around emerging infectious diseases. The cast of actors involved in promoting and popularizing the threat from bioterrorists contained many of the same scientists, public health officials and writers as had promoted the emerging infectious diseases worldview. The bioterrorism and the emerging infectious diseases scripts were also very similar: their aim was to increase attention and funding given to the neglected US public health system.