Threat Of Bioterrorism In Today’s World

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In todays’s world nothing has become more apparent than the threat of bioterrorism. The use of biological weapons have been used in wars many times in history. The United States has become more aware of this threat since September 11, 2001. The fear that the terrorist could use disease-causing organisms or chemical agents against us has raised our curiosity in the potential threats they present.

Some of these biological weapons are:

Anthrax

Smallpox

Plague

Botulism

Tularemia

Viral hemorrhagic fever

Chemical weapons :

ricin

sarin

mustard gas

chlorine

phosgene

hydrogen cyanide

The health care professionals and public health authorities have become more aware of the threat of biological or chemical attacks. When anthrax or other bacterial disease is suspected or confirmed antibiotics stand ready for use. Using antibiotics to freely could lessen their effectiveness. Stockpiling antibiotics is not necessary since most only effect certain organisms and it would be almost impossible to predict which one would be needed.

Vaccination for smallpox may once again be needed. The US stopped vaccinating against smallpox around 30 to 40 years ago because the disease no longer posed a health threat. The virus had been eradicated due to world wide vaccinations. The threat that the virus could be used as a biological weapon remains as long as samples of the virus remain preserved. The disease is very contagious. The disease is fatal in about 30% of the time.

Anthrax the bacterium Bacillus anthracts and it’s spores cause anthrax. The spores that form which produce a toxin than can be fatal to humans and animals. The spores are invisible, orderless,and tasteless. The amount needed to make a person sick is smaller than a speck of dust. Three types are known Cutaneous anthrax ,Inhalation anthrax, and Intestinal anthrax. They can be treated with antibiotics with good results if caught in time. Anthrax is not contagious. Anthrax can be prevented by vaccine but because of side effects the vaccine is limited.

Gas masks may not help in a biological or chemical attack. The masks are created by the basis of the threat at hand. No mask can prevent all biological or chemical invasions. Fear itself is contagious. Cover your nose and mouth if you fear you have came in contact with a gas or chemical and leave quickly out of the area. Rinse your eyes and skin with water quickly. Wash or dispose of contaminated clothes as soon as you can. Experts think small groups are more at risk due to the weapons being difficult to control.

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