Bioterrorism Preparedness Article
Bioterrorism has a history like anthrax attacks and is the most dreadful of all the probable massacres by terrorists and prompts us to instantiate the first step in bioterrorism preparedness by choosing the right safety gear like gas masks for bioterrorism protection. Even though the US government takes enough safety measures to protect its citizens, it is imperative that every citizen need to take initiative to prepare against bioterrorism attacks
A man in Florida was arrested after having been found to have ricin in his possession. In March and November there were false positive alarms for anthrax being detected in Department of Defense mail facilities; while in October there was a false positive alarm for tularemia being detected on the Mall in Washington D.C.
Bioterrorism is terrorism using germ warfare, an intentional human release of a naturally occurring or human-modified toxin or biological agent. The use of living agents, such as man made or natural disease pathogens, to attack people, animals, and plants.
Anthrax is a bacterium with a highly resistant spore form. It is highly infectious and lethal when inhaled. It is a non-contagious disease which does not spread from one person to another. An anthrax vaccine does exist but requires many injections and has enough side effects that it is considered unsuitable for general use.
Biological weapons characteristics
- Ideal characteristics of biological weapons are high infectivity, high potency, availability of vaccines, and delivery as an aerosol.
- Diseases most likely to be considered for use as biological weapons are contenders because of their lethality (if delivered efficiently), and robustness.
- Anthrax is considered an effective agent for several reasons. First, it forms hardy spores, perfect for dispersal aerosols. Second, pneumonic (lung) infections of anthrax usually do not cause secondary infections in other people. Thus, the effect of the agent is usually confined to the target.
- A pneumonic anthrax infection starts with ordinary "cold" symptoms and quickly becomes lethal, with a fatality rate that is 80% or higher. Finally, friendly personnel can be protected with suitable antibiotics.
- The growing number of real or suspected anthrax cases and news about other potential agents of biological and chemical terrorism has left many Americans worrying about their health and safety.
Protective measures against bioterrorism
- The primary civil defense against biological weaponry is to wash one's hands whenever one moves to a different building or set of people, and avoid touching door knobs, walls, the ground and one's mouth and nose.
- Washing literally sends the germs down the drain.
- More exotic methods include decontamination, usually done with household chlorine bleach (5% solution of sodium hypochlorite).
- One useful de-contamination is to leave shoes in an entrance-way and make people wade and hand wash in a footbath of bleach. Another useful technique is to periodically decontaminate floors and door knobs.
- Medical methods of civil defense include stockpiles of antibiotics and vaccines, and training for quick, accurate diagnosis and treatment. Many weaponized diseases are unfamiliar to general practitioners.
The economic consequences of a bioterrorism attack could be "devastating," crippling the agricultural-based economy of the region and creating a potential. Appropriate dispersion of even a small volume of biological warfare agent may cause high morbidity and mortality, which may be exacerbated by public panic and social disruption
The impact of bioterrorism attacks is worse and it is prudent to be prepared for it by purchasing a gas mask which has NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection. For more information on biological weapons click on Biological weapons. This information is not to panic you in any way but help you take an educated decision.
|Known Bioterrorism Incidents|
|Sept. 2001||Al Qaeda terrorist group||The first set of anthrax letters had a Trenton, New Jersey postmark dated September 18, 2001, exactly one week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Five letters are believed to have been mailed at this time, to ABC News, CBS News, NBC News and the New York Post, all in New York City and the National Enquirer at American Media, Inc.(AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida.|
|April 1997||Counter Holocaust Lobbyists of Zion||Sent package falsely claiming that it contained anthrax|
|February 1997||James Dalton Bell||
Plotted to assassinate law enforcement officials using Ricin toxin.
|April 90-March 95||Aum Shinrikyo||Unsuccessfully tried to use botulinum toxin and anthrax, causing no causalities.|
|Mid-1980s||Tamil secessionist group in Sri Lanka||Threatened to spread pathogens to infect humans and crops.|
|Aug-Sept 1994||Rejneeshee||Contaminated salad bars and infected 751 people.|
|October 1981||Dark Harvest||Spread dirt contaminated with anthrax .|
|November 1980||Red Army Faction||Reportedly tried to manufacture botulinum toxin .|
|June 1976||B.A. Fox||Threatened to mail ticks carrying pathogens.|
|January 1974||SLA||Showed some interest in biological warfare .|
Attempted to acquire biological agents to contaminate water systems.
|November 1970||Weathermen||Attempted to acquire biological agents to contaminate water systems.|
|1950s||Mau Mau||Used plant toxins to kill livestock|