Anthrax - Essay 1

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Biological weapons are living organisms, whatever their nature, or the materials that are created because of their use. Biological weapons can cause disease or death in living organisms, and are depended upon for their further ability to multiply inside the organism that it attacks. Chemical weapons are defined as chemical substances of gas, liquid, or solid which are used because of a directly toxic effect upon humans, animals, or plants. Even though the two weapons are closely related, chemical weapons are used far more commonly because they are inexpensive to make and use. The microorganisms generally considered suitable for biological warfare include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Toxins (poisonous chemicals) produced by microorganisms also are considered biological weapons. These agents are capable of causing sickness or death in humans or animals, destroying crops, or contaminating water supplies. Various bacteria have been used or experimented with as biological weapons. Anthrax is one of the most serious of these diseases. Anthrax is an infectious disease that can be passed from cattle and sheep to humans. Inhaling anthrax spores can result in a deadly form of pneumonia. During World War II (1939–45), Japan and Great Britain built and tested biological weapons carrying anthrax spores, and the inhalation of anthrax may still be a threat as a biological weapon today. Anthrax is one of the oldest recorded diseases of grazing animals such as sheep and cattle. Anthrax can be traced back to Exodus when God placed the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, as a result of Pharaoh's refusal to free the Jews from slavery. The name anthrax comes from anthrakitis, the Greek word for anthracite (coal), in reference to the black skin lesions victims develop in a cutaneous skin infection. Anthrax is caused by the bacteria B anthracis. These are rod-shaped germs that can change from "normal" bacteria into spores (or single-celled seeds that can reproduce the...
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