Bioterrorism: Using Disease To Inflict Fear And Gain Power

1883 words - 8 pages

Bioterrorism is a very striking weapon used for terrorism due to the ease of access and the availability of the agents. Today we take many precaution to protect ourselves from the spread of biological agents. These precautions include inspections on our food items and having proper vaccinations in case of emergency. If we do not take these precautions great danger could occur during the spread of an agent. Through the years we have experienced our own scares of bioterrorism where we have not been as prepared as we should. These acts of terrorism at The Dalles Taco Time in 1984 and the anthrax in envelopes in 2001 have increased the precautions we take to decrease our risk of bioterrorism attacks. These severity of these attacks also depends on the agents used. Depending on the category the biological agent falls in the more or less severe the outcomes may be for those effected. Bioterrorism is a silent killer and without proper precautions can take down great amounts of people depending on the agent used, and the defense in order.  
Have you ever thought about an act of terrorism where you have no idea it’s happening until it’s too late? This is exactly what happens in bioterrorism! The terrorist intentionally releases biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, toxins, and other harmful agents. These agents are meant to cause illness to its targets, but the illness may not happen for several hours to several days after the target has come in contact with the agent. The first known incidences of bioterrorism were used during WWI, and have continued to be used in WWII and many other incidences with the last being in 2001 in the US and Chile. These are just some of the problems that come with bioterrorism. The US and many other countries are exposed to the threat of bioterrorism every day, there are many different forms and uses of these biological agents we must look out for, and to be protected people threatened by bioterrorism must have a good form of biodefense to protect themselves.
Bioterrorism was first used in 700 BC when Assyrians would poison the water wells with rye ergot. Which according to WebMD is a fungus that is very poisonous and can be fatal (ERGOT, 2009). It has ever since been a reoccurring problem all over the world. The next major occurrence of bioterrorism was in the 1300s when “Tarters catapulted plague-infected corpses over the walls of Kaffe (Crimea), which probably led to the Black Death plague epidemic that followed” (Kurtz, 2006). The terrorism didn’t stop there it continued in the 1700s when the American Indians were given blankets that had been used by smallpox patients from the British soldiers. It then continued through WWI and in WWII when the Germans used anthrax, a lethal disease that affects humans and animals, on the US soldiers’ horses and mules. Again in 1979 bioterrorism came into effect when a biological weapons plant in Russia accidentally released anthrax into the air, where sixty six were confirmed dead...

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