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Yersinia pestis Variola major Francisella tularensis (filoviruses [for example, Ebola, Marburg] and arenaviruses [for example, Lassa, Machupo]) Brucella species Epsilon toxin of Clostridium perfringens Salmonella species, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella Burkholderia mallei Burkholderia pseudomallei Chlamydia psittaci Coxiella burnetii Ricinus communis (castor beans) Staphylococcal enterotoxin B Rickettsia prowazekii Vibrio cholerae Cryptosporidium parvum Alphaviruses (for example, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis) and flaviviruses (for example, West Nile encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Dengue) Influenza virus Disease caused by the agent Anthrax Botulism Plague Smallpox Tularemia Viral hemorrhagic fevers Brucellosis Food Poisoning Food Poisoning Glanders Melioidosis Psittacosis Q fever Ricin toxin poisoning Food Poisoning Epidemic Typhus Cholera Cryptosporidiosis
What is bioterrorism?Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism where there is the intentional release
of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or other germs). Terrorism is the defined by the United States government as the "...unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." In addition to biological agents, terrorists can also utilize chemical agents and nuclear bombs. While a biological agent may injure or kill people, animals, or plants, the goal for the terrorist is to further their social and political goals. Many biological agents are found in nature; however, they can be modified by the terrorist to make them more dangerous. Some of these agents can be transmitted from person to person, and the infection may take hours or days to become apparent. What are biological agents? A biological agent (or pathogen) is a disease-causing organism or toxin produced from a biological source. These can include a bacterium, virus, fungus, or biological toxin. Recent developments in microbiology and genetic engineering have shown that viruses and bacteria can be modified so as to make them resistant to antiviral means and/or antibiotics and thus more lethal. Some biological agents are easier to manufacture and distribute than others, thus making them the most dangerous and deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, these most lethal “Category A Agents” include anthrax, the bubonic plague, smallpox, botulism, viral hemorrhagic fever and tularemia. Why is bioterrorism so dangerous? Even if this kind of terrorism is not spectacular, it can be devastating and especially threatening precisely due to its clandestine nature. Responsibility for bioterrorism acts is rarely claimed by terrorist groups, as is usually the case with other types of attacks. A covert attack may thus take a long time to be detected, as the first visible indication that a bioweapon had been used would be a great number of patients with similar symptoms and/or presence of an unusual infection. The effects of the attack will be visible on a number of levels:
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Physical - actual diseases; Psychological - fear, mass panic; Economic - travel restrictions, business shut-down; Environmental – visible on humans, animals, plants.