The Brentwood Mail Processing and Distribution Center in the District of Columbia was closed on October 21 after four postal workers were hospitalized with inhalational anthrax. The letter to Senator Daschle and one to Senator Patrick Lahey, which was not opened until it was irradiated to kill the bacteria, were mailed in Trenton on October 9.
A number of hoax letters, similar to the anthrax letters, some containing innocuous white powder, were also mailed to media and government offices from St. Petersburg, Florida. Since they were sent before the news broke about the anthrax letters, they were presumably sent by the same person. Over the following decades, public health had many successes, carrying out many of the tasks described in Winslow’s definition. It was highly effective in reducing the threat of infectious diseases, thereby increasing the average lifespan of Americans by several decades.
Public health was taken for granted, and most people were unaware of its activities. No one was talking about public health. At the same time, new health problems were appearing: The AIDS epidemic broke out, concern about environmental pollution was growing, the aging population was demanding increased health services, and social problems such as teenage pregnancy, violence, and substance abuse were becoming more common.