As terrorists groups become better financed and more sophisticated, the opportunity for terrorism in the United States and Europe becomes much greater. Within the sphere of bio-terrorism, there are a variety of agents for terrorist groups to utilize, ranging from Category A, B, and C bioweapon agents. The whole board of biological weapon agents highlights the goal that terrorists have in common: to attack our core human biology and kindle the growing panic within each of us.
Parallel to the rapid advancement of society is the increased emphasis placed upon technology. Simply put, it is as pervasive as ever. Yet it goes without saying that technology’s accelerated climb up the human pyramid of progress arrives with a cost: terrorism. On the basis of its most fundamental aspects, terrorism runs on the currency of fear (Zubay 1). In the modern context, terrorists have exploited the biological basis of the human race in order to forge the fatal idea of bioterrorism. The ultimate goal is to inject a note of fear within the general human population. Amongst the vast number of potential agents, ranging from viruses to biotoxins, a select few have noted abilities, particularly for their ease of dissemination, capacity to cause widespread anxiety, and potential to become biological weapons. Those that have been noted are catalogued into the Center for Disease Control’s Category A, B, and C list of bioweapon agents. Evidently, each agent has its own specific story. Ranging from the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of each agent, all of these facets grant terrorists an even greater convenience to further exert their reign of terror.
In the pursuit of the “perfect” biological weapon, terrorists have scouted extensively for the most
ideal agent to incite the greatest amount of hysteria. None are as ideal as Bacillus anthraxis,
colloquially known as anthrax. “Virulent anthrax bacteria are considered especially useful as a
weapon because of their durability (as spores) and lethally [sic] if inhaled” (Cole). As a Category
A agent, anthrax is a nonmotile and gram-positive bacteria with a box car-like appearance on an
agar culture. Yet, the deadliest feature of this bacterium arises from its inherent ability to form
spores, permitting it to become efficiently aerosolized and dispersed over a large, concentrated
population in the context of terrorism. Once an individual is infected with anthrax, the bacteria
expresses itself in one of three forms: inhalational, cutaneous, or gastrointestinal anthrax.
Transmission stems from direct or indirect contact and from anthrax’s spore or bacteria form
(Grey and Spaeth 193). By direct contact, Bacillus anthraxis enters and infects the body.
However, through indirect contact, hardy anthrax spores embed themselves within a diverse
selection of media (i.e. animal hair, meat, and hides). Once humans come in contact with any
infected media, the...