Bioterrorism, or a biological attack, is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria or other biological substances, such as toxins and poisons, which can cause illness and death among people, animals or plants.
These agents are usually found in nature, but they can be altered to increase their ability to cause disease, to make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment (Bioterrorism Overview 1).
They are usually colorless, odorless microorganisms or derived from microorganisms that can be spread in air as aerosols or in food or drink to infect as many people as possible (Nicolson 1).
There are three categories of bioterrorism agents. They are classified as A (highest priority), B (second highest priority) or C (lowest priority) based on their ability to be spread, their availability, their public health impact and the special action required for public health preparedness (Bioterrorism Overview 1).
Terrorists may use biological agents because they can be extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days. Some bioterrorism agents, like the smallpox virus, can be spread from person to person and some, like anthrax, cannot (Bioterrorism Overview 1).
Healthcare workers will need to recognize unusual patterns of illnesses and match the symptoms of early victims with a particular biological agent. Most people will learn about a bioterrorist attack through information they hear or read from emergency and health leaders (Bioterrorism FAQs 1).
Bioterrorism- http://www.medicinenet.com/bioterrorism/article.htm Preparing for Bioterrorism- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305820/ Bioterrorist Agents- http://www.unc.edu/depts/spice/bioterrorism.jpg Bioterrorism- http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/bioterrorism-4.jpg
"Bioterrorism Overview." CDC. N.p., 12 Feb. 2007. Web. 29 Nov. 2012....
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