Bio-terrorism can be defined as intentional spread of biological components such as viruses, bacteria and toxins with the aim of affecting the health of humans and other living things. This paper addresses the history and effects of bio-terrorism. In this regard, the use of biological elements cannot be effective in combating the enemies of any given state.
We will write a custom Essay on Bio-Terrorism Preparedness and Response specifically for you
301 certified writers online
This option of using chemicals is preferred by combatants who want to attack their enemies without attracting attention. This is because when people get ill they will think it is due to natural causes. Terrorist groups use this method of inducing sickness to attack people without being suspected. The major problem of this tactic is that it is not selective hence it may cause harm to the wrong target. The substances are usually dissolved in drinking water, food and air. In some cases the chemicals can be put in envelopes (Bueler et al. 1).
The effects of biological warfare can be extensive than armed confrontation because once a population is infected by a virus it will be difficult to contain it because some are transmitted through physical contact. Contamination of water is a more adverse effect of bioterrorism since all living things depend on water for their survival. Poisonous chemicals dissolved in water may lead to loss of lives and poor health conditions (Perkins, Popovic, & Yeskey, 1).
During the First World War the use of biological weapons was adversely preferred because almost every state was well equipped and hence the use of armed forces was put aside because all the warring parties were on high alert hence biological weapons were intended to cause gradual harm due to the ailments that resulted after the chemicals were consumed. Biological weapons were first applied in Rome where human waste was smeared onto the faces of the captured enemies.
Additionally, the effects of chemicals could persist even after the enemies have reconciled and thus they may have long term effects. In some cases most children who are born in the affected areas die as soon as they are born because their mothers were affected by these toxins. The effectiveness of biological weapons was not satisfactory because the ailments did not occur immediately hence an enemy could not be disrupted immediately.
Among the most famous weapons ever used is anthrax which was last used in 2001 to attack US senators. Anthrax is not spread by contact hence it may not affect unintended targets. In the case of US senators the chemicals were sealed in envelops which were then sent through the post. Since then it was declared mandatory for federal employees to be vaccinated against anthrax because they were found to be the most prone persons since they are the ones who collect letters from various post offices.
Currently Ebola is the most deadly virus which causes death within 48 hours. It mainly affected people of central Africa and specifically the republic of Congo. The virus is spread by coming into contact into infected persons hence when Congo was hit with this virus many people died because even the medical personnel who came into contact with infected patients were not spared.
Perkins, Popovic and Yeskey argue that biological weapons can only be applied in cold war because in such cases the enemies exist as friendly enemies as opposed to those that had engaged in armed fighting (1). Of late most governments are developing monitoring mechanisms that can be used to detect the presence of biological weapons in the atmosphere and on other vectors on land.
One of the preventive measures is screening of foreigners in major airports. This ensures that foreigners who are infected with such viruses do not enter another country because if they are allowed to enter into that country they will spread that virus to nationals of that country.
Forensic laboratories are relying on information obtained from health clinics, laboratory tests to detect the presence of bio weapons. It is therefore required that all public entities remain vigilant in order to detect bio-terrorism. Adverse effects such as water contamination should be avoided at all cost through proper water testing and treatment especially in the case of drinking water.
Bueler J. W., et al (2003).”Syndromic surveillance and Bioterrorism-related Epidemics”, Emerging infectious Diseases, 9(10), 1197, Web.
Perkins B. A., Popovic T., and Yeskey K. (2002).”Public Health in the time of Bioterrorism”, Emerging infectious Diseases, 8(10), 1015, Web.