Chapter 9 : Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror

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Bioterrorism is currently defined as the use of biological agents or pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and toxins) for the purpose of attacking and creating havoc in a population considered an enemy. Many of these agents can be isolated naturally from the environment or have been genetically manipulated to become more pathogenic. Additionally, many of these agents of bioterrorism have to be “weaponized” by mixing them with certain chemicals to make them more lethal. The biological agents can then either be used as part of munitions or can be disseminated via air, water, soil, or even food.

Citation: González A, Rivera-Pérez J, Toranzos G. 2018. Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror, p 191-214. In Cano R, Toranzos G (ed), Environmental Microbial Forensics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0010-2016
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Figure 1

Iroquois Native Americans engaging in trade with Europeans, 1722 (reproduced from reference ).

Citation: González A, Rivera-Pérez J, Toranzos G. 2018. Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror, p 191-214. In Cano R, Toranzos G (ed), Environmental Microbial Forensics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0010-2016
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Figure 2

The annual fluctuation of cases from 1953 to 2008 ( ).

Citation: González A, Rivera-Pérez J, Toranzos G. 2018. Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror, p 191-214. In Cano R, Toranzos G (ed), Environmental Microbial Forensics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0010-2016
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Table 1

Classification of potential biological agents used for bioterrorism attacks

Citation: González A, Rivera-Pérez J, Toranzos G. 2018. Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror, p 191-214. In Cano R, Toranzos G (ed), Environmental Microbial Forensics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0010-2016
Generic image for table
Table 2

Number of casualties produced by a biological agent in a hypothetical bioterror attack

Citation: González A, Rivera-Pérez J, Toranzos G. 2018. Forensic Approaches to Detect Possible Agents of Bioterror, p 191-214. In Cano R, Toranzos G (ed), Environmental Microbial Forensics. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.EMF-0010-2016

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