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13 : Bioterrorism: a Real Modern Threat

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Bioterrorism: a Real Modern Threat, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

The use of microbial agents as intentional weapons against humans, animals, and plants goes back to earliest recorded history. There are three critical elements necessary for a bioterrorism event to occur; potential perpetrators, availability of biologic agents, and technical means to disseminate these agents. The potential for bioterrorism can no longer be dismissed. There are at least six categories within the spectrum of potential perpetrators who are capable of and willing to conduct a bioterrorism attack: state-sponsored groups, insurgent rebels, doomsday/cult-type groups, nonaligned terrorists, splinter groups, and lone offenders. An ideal potential bioterrorism agent has the following six characteristics: it is inexpensive and easy to produce; can be aerosolized; survives sunlight, drying, and heat; causes lethal or disabling disease; and results in person-to-person transmission; and either it has no effective treatment or prophylaxis or none is available. Yet, there are currently many gaps in our bioterrorism preparedness activities. Recently, three groups have published documents to assist with federal, state, and local bioterrorism preparedness and response planning. Of these, the plan produced by the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in August 2000 is the most comprehensive and detailed of all the federal planning documents produced to date. The critical components of bioterrorism planning activities are addressed. All planners of local and state preparedness and response activities should consider this document as they develop regional or statewide plans.

Citation: Osterholm M. 2001. Bioterrorism: a Real Modern Threat, p 213-222. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 5. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816988.ch13

Key Concept Ranking

Infectious Diseases
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West nile virus
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References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555816988.chap13
1. Alibek, K.,, and S. Handelman. 1999. Biohazard: the Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World-Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It. Random House, Inc., New York, N.Y.
2.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2000. Biological and Chemical Terrorism: Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response. Recommendations of the CDC Strategic Planning Workgroup. Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 49(RR-04):114.
3.Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Govermnent to Combat the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. 1999. Combating Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
4.Department of Defense. 2000. Improving Local and State Agency Response to Terrorist Incidents Involving Biological Weapons. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
5. English, J. F., and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc., Bioterrorism Task Force. 1999. Overview of Bioterrorism Readiness Plan: a Template for Health Care Facilities. Am. J. Infect. Control 27:468469.
6. Henderson, D. A. 1998. Bioterrorism as a public health threat. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 4:488492.
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9. Khan, A. S.,, S. Morse,, and S. Lillibridge. 2000. Public-health preparedness for biological terrorism in the USA. Lancet 356: 1791182.
10. Kolavic, S. A.,, A. Kimura,, S. L. Simons,, L. Slutsker,, S. Barth,, and C. E. Haley. 1997. An outbreak of Shigella dysenteriae type 2 among laboratory workers due to intentional food contamination. JAMA 278:396398.
11.Office of Technology Assessment,U.S.Congress. 1993. Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Assessing the Risks. OTA-ISC-559. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
12. Osterholm, M. T.,, and J. Schwartz. 2000. Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe. Delacorte Press, New York, N.Y.
13. Torok, T. J.,, R. V. Tauxe,, R. P. Wise,, J. R. Livengood,, R. Sokolow,, S. Mauvais,, K. A. Birkness,, M. R. Skeels,, J. M. Horan,, and L. R. Foster. 1997. A large community outbreak of salmonellosis caused by intentional contamination of restaurant salad bars. JAMA 278:389395.
14. Waeckerle, J. F. 2000. Domestic preparedness for events involving weapons of mass destruction. JAMA 283:252254.

Tables

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Table 1

CDC bioterrorism agent classification system

Citation: Osterholm M. 2001. Bioterrorism: a Real Modern Threat, p 213-222. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 5. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816988.ch13
Generic image for table
Table 2

Critical components of bioterrorism planning activities

Citation: Osterholm M. 2001. Bioterrorism: a Real Modern Threat, p 213-222. In Scheld W, Craig W, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 5. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816988.ch13

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