This chapter focuses on microbial forensics and its future. Microbial forensics as a discipline has been affected dramatically by the anthrax-letter attacks and the intense effort associated with the Amerithrax investigation. The Amerithrax case involved highly sophisticated technologies and the development of novel scientific analytical approaches and was driven by federal law enforcement efforts. In addition to the massive scale of Amerithrax, engagement of the law enforcement community led to new standards for microbial analyses that have begun to effect a change in how epidemiologists and public health officials approach normal disease outbreaks. Future criminal investigations will quickly result in law enforcement-driven forensic analysis and will capitalize on the very latest in technological innovations. Analysis standards will be set high in order to support the prosecution of perpetrators within the judicial system. Microbial forensics is no longer just a "side activity" for epidemiologists, but rather a discipline all its own that needs specialists trained in multiple disciplines. A complementary suite of methodologies will ultimately prepare scientists with better investigative strategies. Preparing to investigate future events has largely been focused on a small list of pathogens and toxins, primarily developed from Cold War-era agents. A comparison of these research targets reveals unique characteristics that will require unique investigative approaches. The biology of each pathogen and toxin will necessitate agent-specific expertise and analysis.
|Title of host publication||Microbial Forensics|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - 1 Dec 2011|