Bioterrorism: the Modern Warfare

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Bioterrorism: The Modern Warfare

Bioterrorism is the new era of starting a war. It is an intentional way of releasing some harmful biological agents such as bacteria, viruses and harmful toxins. In some cases, these virus and toxins are created and then released in to the outside world. The Bioterrorism has been ignored for many years and the threat it caused over the years must be publicly addressed. It could occur without being noticed by the experts and it must have an immediate attention to save lives of people.

The United States came up with few mechanisms that could help minimize the effects of bioterrorism at its early stages. This paper will argue the need to address publicly the threat caused by bioterrorism which has been ignored for years and the requirement of immediate attention to educate and enhance abilities of physicians and hospitals which are lacking the ability to tackle the attack efficiently. It will also examine the measures taken by the government to counter attack the bio war and preparedness of the state and existing biosecurity protocols.

Bioterrorism agents are potential pathogenic organisms or biological toxins that can produce death and disease in humans, plants or animals for creating terrorism. These agents are usually microorganisms found in nature, but these microorganisms are being studied and modified to make them resistant to the antibiotics or vaccines. Any attempted use of these agents whether a success or failure, they could cause a mass destruction to the humanity.

As it takes some research and comes with a low cost, terrorists are using the biological agents as their conventional tools for attack. The pathogens that are used for attack are the smallpox, Ebola and Marburg viruses, yellow fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and the bacteria anthracis. These agents are spread through food or water. They can also be transmitted by aerosols like spray devices, bombs or missiles.

The first known bio agent that is used for Bioterrorism act was Rye Ergot, in the 6th Century BCE by the Assyrians to contaminate the water supply of Israel. The goal was to infect the Israelites with Ergotism which created symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, gangrenous development on the fingers and toes and hallucination. But the Assyrians were unsuccessful as they didn't realize that the poisoning had to be chronic to show any sign of infection. Hence the first incident of bioterrorism was a failure. In the same century, the citizens of Delphi revolted against Kirrha who were abusing them with their power of taxing and tolling pilgrims traveling to Delphi.

The people poisoned water supply of Kirrha with Hellebore, a poisonous plant that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Kirrha ended up losing to people of Delphi. With this people began to do research on bio agents to use them against their enemies constituting the new beginning of the war between nations.

The first bioterrorism attack in united states happened in fall 1984. Members of Rajneeshee, a Buddhist cult have brewed a salsa of salmonella (a food poising agent) into some restaurants. They made citizens to eat and the judge, attorney, dentist and the doctors were also a part of the people. Their plan was to seize the control of the county government by packing the polling booths with homeless people making the local residents too sick to vote. Though nobody died in the attack, nearly 751 people got very sick. Due to the likelihood of such an attack, there is a need for efficient biodefense mechanisms.

The United States government has been preparing biodefense protocols at the state and federal levels. The government has three solutions to do this. One is to provide vaccinations nationwide against all the agents that could possibly lead to bio war. Second of which is to educate people to identify symptoms of acts and protect themselves from the effects of already occurred bio war. The last one is to prevent the act from occurring, detecting and destroying the bio agents that are used for the act. These mechanisms depend on the abilities of physicians and hospitals to work efficiently and their lies the problem.

After the 9/11 attack in 2001, the requirement for the coordination of federal, state and local governments has been increased. In effect of this around $1 billion was given to local and state emergency preparedness annually. In 2006, Congress authorized the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) to improve the public health preparedness by focusing more on the natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases rather than concentrating more on bioterrorism.

The funding to the local, federal and state governments is being provided by the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program to prevent, protect, react and rapidly recover from chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological threats and attacks. PHEP is supporting National Health Security Strategy by following the tactics: within the state, territorial and local public health agencies to introduce robust management and programs that will help preparedness for the public health security, supporting key public health capabilities required for emergency planning and response, assuring the response readiness for public health emergencies and disasters, and promoting the health security of communities.

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Bioterrorism: The Modern Warfare. (2019, Nov 18). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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