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Bioterrorism The Dangers, Effects On Society, And The Actions Of The Government.

1724 words - 7 pages

You wake up early for work and kill your family goodbye. On your daily transit you see a man drop a glass vial in the subway, but you think nothing of it. Moments later you become a statistic. A statistic of Bioterrorism. The threat of Bioterrorism, long ignored and denied, has heightened over the past years and needs to be publicly addressed. Today's biggest hazards are anthrax and smallpox, yet people are left uncertain at what should be done while the government goes undercover to solve the problem as the media is left to give its own over exaggerated version of everything opinions on things.Although terrorists could use many disease-causing agents, experts on biological warfare regard anthrax and smallpox as the two biggest hazards. Other infectious diseases that pose a threat include plague, tularemia, botulism and tuberculosis. However, experts believe these organisms and diseases are unlikely to cause widespread illness because they're difficult to manufacture and distribute. These organisms are also less hardy than anthrax is.Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis and its spores. Anthrax can infect people in three different ways. Cutaneous anthrax develops when the bacteria enter your body through superficial cuts or wounds on your skin. The vast majority of anthrax infections are cutaneous. Intestinal anthrax results from eating food contaminated with the anthrax bacteria. Inhalational anthrax occurs when you breathe the anthrax bacterial spores into your lungs. This form of anthrax is usually fatal.The death rate for anthrax from inhaled sources is very high, approaching 100 percent. Death rates are lower for anthrax that enters your body through food or a wound. Anthrax is not transmitted from person to person, the way a cold or influenza is passed, therefore, it cannot spread in large populations. However, microbiologists consider anthrax a serious hazard because its bacteria are suitable as a weapon. Anthrax is easy to produce, and it's readily available around the world. The spores don't require special handling procedures, so terrorists could take anthrax to many points for distribution. It could be used to take out specific people or locations. Unlike many disease-causing bacteria, spores can survive severe heat and cold.Doctors have no experience treating anthrax on the scale of a biological attack, so it's difficult to predict exactly what might happen. Treatment of anthrax with antibiotics such as Cipro may be successful if anthrax is identified as the cause of disease and people who were exposed receive treatment quickly.Anthrax is only one of our main concerns. Another hazard is smallpox. Smallpox, an infectious disease caused by the variola virus, was eradicated from the world in 1977. Three years later, the World Health Assembly recommended an end to routine vaccination, and most countries complied. Smallpox is passed from person to person when infected people sneeze, spraying fine droplets of the virus into the air, or...

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