The Pros And Cons Of Biotterrorism

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Post September 11, 2001, bioterrorism has become a subject of widespread concern. Significantly bioterrorism has captured the attention of all levels of the United States government. Unfortunately, bioterrorism is a deadly threat that is still poorly understood. There is currently no concrete definition of bioterrorism, but society views bioterrorism as a form of terrorism with intentional release of biochemical agents (bacteria or viruses,) to kill or harm. Bioterrorism is a public health threat with a wide spectrum ranging from uses of non-mass casualty agents to infectious agents causing mass casualties. From a public health perspective, bioterrorism has a variety of agents that pose a concern to our people. According the Emerging Infectious…show more content…
An example of a toxin categorized to be a chemical substance to harm is Bacillus anthracis. Although people know Bacillus anthracis to be a biological weapon compared to a toxin weapon, Bacillus anthracis produces a toxin that is responsible for the anthrax disease. Bacillus anthracis is a gram-positive, rod shaped, aerobic, encapsulated, and spore-forming bacteria. According to Toxins as Weapons: A Historical Review, Bacillus anthracis has three different forms, cutaneous, gastrointestinal and respiratory. When spores are inhaled, ingested or come in contact with a skin lesion, the spores are phagocytized by macrophages and reach the lymph nodes. With presence of nutrients, producing favorable conditions for the spores, they then germinate and transform back into a vegetative form. The vegetative form of Bacillus anthracis toxin then causes edema, hemorrhage and necrosis in effected areas. In a specific case of inhalation anthrax, the most affected lymph nodes are found in the mediastinum…show more content…
Explain in the Toxins as Weapons: A Historical Review it is explained how Bacillus anthracis is used as a weapon. First off, the spores show a fitting stability for storage and transportation in munitions or spraying tanks, and even confer a certain level of resistance against the thermal effect produced during the explosion of the munitions that allows opening of the compartment in which the load of spores is carried. At the beginning of the 20th century, anthrax was also thought to have a short and predictable incubation period, one–two days, but it was later discovered that it could range between one and seven days. Now it is known that it can even exceed a timespan of 60 days, which, from a tactical point of view, is not attractive. Finally, and unlike other biological warfare agents such as the smallpox virus, no information exists indicating that anthrax is a contagious disease that is transmitted from one person to another, something that avoids putting one’s own troops at risk, for example, when in contact with prisoners of

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