The Threat of Biological Warfare and Possible Preventative Measures

Topics: Smallpox, Infectious disease, Biological warfare Pages: 3 (1050 words) Published: April 4, 2002
The Threat of Biological Warfare and Possible Preventative Measures
The events of September 11,2001, have made the threat of terrorism on our mainland very real. The twin towers were made into rubble that day, along with the lives of the many people touched by the overwhelming loss of life that occurred that day. Now, if that isn't enough to cope with, in creeps the specter of bio-terrorism. Biological weapons are devices intended to deliberately disseminate disease producing organisms or toxins in food, water, by insect, or as an aerosol. Bacillus anthracis, the organism that causes anthrax, has been bandied about the media and the American public has been saturated by stories of possible cases and fatalities. One agent not often discussed but every bit as horrifying as anthrax is smallpox. Smallpox is an acute, highly contagious virus disease characterized by prolonged fever, vomiting, and pustular eruptions that often leave pitted scars, or pockmarks, when healed as defined by Webster's New World College Dictionary. Smallpox, commands respect and the concern of the American public along with that terrorism, of the biological variety, however improbable, is very possible.

Smallpox was once large in scope before vaccinations. At one point or another, everyone was going to contract it. A release of smallpox in aerosol form would scatter readily, and because of its stability in aerosol form would prove very formidable even in a small dose. Even mention of a group of smallpox cases can cause national panic and a possible public outcry for national emergency control measures to be taken. Several

factors cause the concern: smallpox has historically been feared as one of the most serious of all pestilential diseases, it physically disfigures, it bears a thirty percent fatality rate, it can be spread person to person, primarily by droplet nuclei expelled from the oropharynx of the infected person or by aerosol . Items most often...

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