Bioterrorism and Health

Bioterrorismand Health


Bioterrorismand Health

Bioterrorismis application of micro-organism intentionally to cause destructionto individuals, domestic animals or even crops. This has become agreat concern for officials of public health as well as agriculturalbodies. However, the ability of a nation’s preparedness of abioterrorism attack mostly lies on the health systems of the state(Wagner et al 2004). A lot of activities involving ways of fundingthese bioterrorism attacks have been put into place by states. Bothaccomplishments and failures have been seen in these projects.Priority on expenditure and objectives determines whether the nationis prepared to combat such tests.

Factorsthat cause bioterrorism

SelectAgents is the name given to factors that can cause bioterrorism. Theyare categorized into three parts. The first category is known tocause danger to national security. They are usually easily spread anddistributed. They also cause panic to the public and they thereforeneed to be dealt with caution. They include tularemia also known asrabbit fever, botulinum toxin, anthrax, bubonic plague, smallpox, andviral hemorrhagic fevers. The second category is moderately easilyspread and the death rate is also minimal (Christopher et al 1998). They include brucella species, safety of food threats, Q fever,epsilon toxins, typhus, alpha viruses for example western equineencephalitis, castor beans, Chlamydia psittaci, water supply threats.The third category is thought to be engineered to cause massdestruction. These emerging pathogens are easily manufactured anddistributed, have a high death rate and can cause serious healthblow. They include HIV/AIDS, Hantavirus, flu, nipah virus and sars(Wagner et al 2004).

Governmentlevels interrelate to help prevent or counter these attacks indifferent ways. Local emergencies are dealt with by the municipalgovernments. Territorial and provincial government act in response toemergencies that are inside their borders. However the federalgovernments may chip in to mobilize its assets if the responsiblebodies do not have enough resources to counter these attacks(Christopher et al 1998). There are several responsibilities ofbioterrorism and emergency. Emergency response preparationmaintenance and development for example how to contain small poxthreats, quarantine service management, laboratory protocolsdevelopments for potential terrorist attacks and training of thelaboratory personnel and maintained proper mobile equipments whichare readily deployed, monitoring of such risky agents.

Specialunits that can respond to these bioterrorism attacks are usually onstandby and therefore making the evacuation easier. The situation ofthe bioterrorism incident determines on the advisory on evacuation.These units are able to detect, recognize and counteract threats andlater neutralize victims. However several problems might occur butthe governments are readily equipped to counter these attacks. Theyhave internet based network that provides early warnings (Christopheret al 1998). They provide information through monitoring of eventsthrough other sources. They provide with exercises that help thestaff familiarize themselves with security threat agents. The staffconducts a thorough knowledge on all the agents of bioterrorism, howthey can be used and ways in which they can also be disguised (Wagneret al 2004). A wide bioterrorism lab response network is put intoplace to ensure quick results are obtained in cases where there is asuspicion of these attacks. These networks also help the participantsperform their responsibilities.


Threefactors are seen to be important while dealing with bioterrorismattack. Prevention is one of them which involve regulation ofagricultural and environmental conditions. This will limit access ofbioterrorism causing agents. The other is detection. Improvedsurveillance, training on diagnosis, enhanced laboratory capabilitiesare issues to be looked at on the detection factor. The last factoris response. The speed of response goes hand in hand with thepreparedness of a nation. The better facilities a nation have thebetter the response.


Christopher,G. W. et al. (1998). Adaptedfrom Biological Warfare: A Historical Perspective,FortDetrick.Maryland: Operational Medicine Division.

Wagner,Michael M. Espino, Jeremyet al. (2004). The role of clinicalinformation systems in public health surveillance. HealthcareInformation Management Systems(3 ed.), New York: Springer-Verlag, pp.&nbsp513–539