The Biological Spectrum

BIOTERRORISM AND HEALTHCARE 10

TheBiological Spectrum

Of

Bioterrorismand Healthcare

SavitriS. Mills

NovaSoutheastern University

August17th2014

BHS4011

Dr.Charles Lewis

Tableof Contents

  1. Cover page…………………………………………………………………………….1

  2. Table of Contents…………………………………………………………..…………2

  3. Introduction……………………………………………………………….…………..3

  4. Bioterrorism……………………………………………………………….……..……3

4.1.Definition…………………………………………………………….………..…3

4.2.Types of Agents…………………………………………………………………..4

4.3.Categories and Characteristics………………………………………….…….….4

  1. Biological Weapons………………………………………………………….….…….4

5.1.Types of Agents…………………………………………………………………..4

5.2.Features…………………………………………………………………….……..4

  1. Chemical Agents………………………………………….……………….…………..4

6.1.States of Chemical Agents…………………………………..……….………….4

6.2.Features………………………………………………….…….………….……..4

  1. Bioterrorism and Health care systems……………………….………..………………5

  2. Challenges for the health care systems worldwide………………….…..……………5

  3. Measures to reduce bioterrorism……………………………………..….……..………5

  4. Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness………………………….……….…….5-6

    1. Steps in response to bioterrorism threats……………………….……………….6

  5. Measures to make the public safer…………………………………………………….6-8

  6. Summary…………………………………………………………….……….…….….8

  7. Reference………………………………………………………………..…………….9-10

Warfareamongst nations and groups to dominate others are as old as humanity.Records show that wars in the early days were conducted by andagainst military forces with the aid of military tools. Intentionalattacks on civilians were considered inappropriate and in most casesthey were spared unless if they were of strategic value. Increase intechnology led to improvement in weapons. Chemical weapons wereintroduced during World War 1 to curb the widespread of war. Theseweapons were in the public domain and thus restricted to somebattlefields.

Theworldview of these chemical weapons changed for some countries. TheUnited States was dramatized after the Murrah Federal Building inOklahoma City attack on the World Trade Centre as well as the UnitedAirlines Flight 93. These incidences made the public aware that theyare also potential targets. It is unfortunate to realize that no oneis safe, and there is no place that terrorists cannot access whenseeking to address their issues (Knobler &amp Pray 2012).

Bioterrorism

TheFederal Bureau of Investigation defines terrorism as the unlawful useof violence on people to intimidate and inflict fear so as to pursuetheir missions. Further, The Centers for Disease Control andPrevention defines Bioterrorism as a type of terrorism with adeliberate release of toxins, bacteria and other poisonous agents tocause illness and death to humans, animals and plants (Darling,2012).These agencies exist naturally, but they are altered to increasetheir ability to produce harmful effects and resist medication.Biological agents can spread quickly in the atmosphere, water as wellas in food. Most terrorism uses these agents as they are trying toidentify. They take hours and days in order to be apparent.Terrorists use a variety of weapons including guns, nuclear bombs andchemical agents (Cordesman,2012)

Bioterrorismagents are separated by groups namely Category A, B and C. Thesecategories are listed according to how quick they can spread and theeffects on human health. The highest rated category is A. Thesecompose of harmful toxins that pose a threat on the population health(Shemer &amp Shoenfeld 2011). They can cover at a quicker rate ascompared to the rest and are transferable from one person to theother. They also have a higher death rate if infected. Anthrax is anexample of Category A agent. Category B is considered less toxic anddisseminated quickly. Their mortality rate is low, and the agentsinclude Brucellosis. Category C is the third group. It is less riskyand can cause health problems in the future. The agents include Hantavirus that are easily produced and lead to health impacts (Shemer &ampShoenfeld 2011).

BiologicalWeapons

Biologicalweapons are also called Weapons of Mass Destruction (Cordesman,2012).It consists of chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons. The use ofbiological weapons could lead to epidemics. The agents of biologicalweapons include yeast, fungi and viruses. These agents can betransmitted through vector, food and injections amongst others (Kort,2010).

ChemicalAgents

Chemicalagents are materials that are intended to indispose living things dueto their physical effects (Gupta,2009).They are toxins interfere with the environment posing a danger totheir existence. Terrorists use these chemical agents to disrupt thepublic health. They occur in states such as vapor, gases or in stableforms. Their agents include nerve agents and mustard gases. Chemicalagents are highly poisonous and thus can lead to deaths in seconds(Ledgard,2010).Their properties include odorless and tasteless. The features ofchemical agents differ according to their classes and volatility.

Challengesfor the health care systems worldwide

Healthexigencies constitute the biggest threats in any country because theyare hard to predict and contain. Although different measures havebeen adopted to curb the health emergencies, bioterrorism poseschallenges for the health systems worldwide. The significant eventsthat greatly affected public health were the Hurricane Katrina andthe anthrax attack (Mellehovitch,2010).Most countries are not properly equipped to protect the citizens fromsome major emergencies like natural disasters and diseases thatexpose the nation to these threats. Some of the challenges faced byhealth care systems include inefficient systems and lack ofwell-developed facilities.

Measuresto reduce bioterrorism by health care systems

Bioterrorismis a threat in the entire world. According to Dr. Oren of theUniversity of Haifa in Israel, efforts should be made to prevent itas well as creating an efficient medical response should the measuresfail. He urged the health care departments to incorporate a fewelements in their environments. First, a body that deals with suchincidences at the national level should be established (McIsaac,2009).This will ensure that it communicates with the government onsensitive issues. The hospital systems should also be prepared tocope with any eventualities. Further, the infrastructure of healthcare facilities and diagnostic capabilities should be improved to therequired level to allow them handle such cases. Moreover, reliableand well-designed information systems should be installed to provideup to date information to both the professionals as well advising thepublic.

Bioterrorism&amp Public Health Preparedness

Differentapproaches have been developed in response to the threats ofbioterrorism agents like plague, anthrax and smallpox. Preparingadequately can help mitigate the ill effects of bioterrorism. Thefirst step in preparation for bioterrorism is by having up to datepolicy at hand (Borrelli,2011).One should ensure that he is informed of any changes as well as beingupdated in a particular facility where he mainly associates. This mayinclude at working places. There should be an established interactiveworking plan.

Secondly,clear reasons behind these established plans should be known. Thereis a need to inform the public on how such biological agents spreadand the symptoms in order to protect them from being infected. Thispreparedness should apply to everyone because failure to comply byone individual can lead to spread of these bio-organisms (Borrelli,2011).Further,it is encouraged that everyone should practice this plan as it willenhance the success in the case of an actual bioterrorism. Practicingallows one to adjust leading to success.

Measuresto make the public safer

Thedangers of bioterrorism are on the minds of the public. The exercisesof bioterrorism events are used to educate the public, as well asbuilding confidence in them. Most of the healthcare workers fell thatthey are not ready enough to handle these threats and thus informingresidents on the dangers helps create awareness on bioterrorismattacks (Shemer &amp Shoenfeld 2011). When biological weapons aredischarged, they take long before symptoms develop or identified.Health care departments take time to identify specific diseaseoutbreaks. They identify the causes and deploy the available vaccinesto cure as well as preventing the spread.

Mostof the doctors and medical facilities are alert on any unusualoutbreak that could be caused by certain known biological agents.When a terrorist inspired epidemic occurs, the public should respondthe same way in case an influenza outbreak occurs or any other severedisease in the community (Fong&amp Alibek 2009).The government agencies have reviewed reports from biodefensespecialists on how the public could be made safer from these threats.

Thefirst measure to keep the public safer is by encouraging them to beprepared all the time as if a blizzard was coming. People should bewell stocked with the basic needs in case of an epidemic outbreak. Itis because the agents may last for an extended period, and themedical departments may reduce access to different places includinggrocery and drug stores to curb the spread of the disease. On thesame point, every member in the society should protect their lovedones exposure to infected people. The public health practitioners’advices on certain guidelines that will greatly help reduce chancesof being infected and easier ways to access medical services(Johnstone,2010).For instance, at homes families should have contacts of health carefacilities in a prominent place. It helps the health experts tomonitor cases of outbreaks as well as recommending on the precautionsthat should be taken. Further, they warn and recommend on what areasto avoid or visit.

Healthcare departments have developed a bond with the general public. Theyhave played an important part in reducing cases of epidemics. In thecase of an epidemic outbreak, they advise on immunization centers andantibiotics that will help prevent certain epidemics. The public isalso advised to consult their physicians when they are anxious on theway forward in case of an outbreak (Fong&amp Alibek 2009).The public are encouraged to do whatever it takes to prevent thespread no matter the causes. They are to prevent infected people frominteracting with others. For instance, sick people are encouraged notattended public places and instead remain at home.

Theother measure to keep the public safe from bioterrorism agents is bykeeping first aid kit with antiseptic, medication, bandages and painkillers. Health care experts recommend that people should havereports on all the key medical information of their loved ones suchas schedules of their drug and food allergies (Johnstone,2010).It ensures that when one member feels unwell, the rest of the familymembers are taken care of in an appropriate manner (Shemer&amp Shoenfeld 2011).The other measure is that the public is advised not to stockpileantibiotics. Antibiotics treat biological agents like anthrax andplague. The only disadvantage is that they expire quickly, and theirdosages vary depending on the agent. Health facilities have stockpileof antibiotics that are circulated to the affected areas in case ofan attack.

Summary

Terrorismattacks have spread in the entire world. This has led to thedevelopment of vaccines that are intended to prevent biologicalagents. Funds have also been put aside to cater for such incidencesin case they occur as well as reduce the widespread. Regardless ofthe level of preparation professional doctors, physicians and otherhealth care assistants will continue to encounter victims of suchattacks. People should be familiar with their surroundings and beable to detect any strange and suspicious elements in the area(Knobler&amp Pray 2012).Questioning and investigating are encouraged. Further, individualsare encouraged to be responsible people in order to win the fightagainst bioterrorism. Education is considered a crucial element inbioterrorism preparedness. Individuals are encouraged to study andfamiliarize themselves with causes of the different agents and howthey are spread. This will help them protect themselves and theirloved ones in the event of attacks.

Reference

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Borrelli,J. V. (2011). Bioterrorism:Prevention, preparedness and protection.New York: Nova Science.

Cordesman,A. H. (2012). Terrorism,asymmetric warfare, and weapons of mass destruction: Defending theU.S. homeland.Westport, Conn: Praeger.

Darling,R. G. (2012). Bioterrorism.Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders.

Fong,I. W., &amp Alibek, K. (2009). Bioterrorismand infectious agents: A new dilemma for the 21st century.New York: Springer Verlag.

Gupta,R. C. (2009). Handbookof toxicology of chemical warfare agents.Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Johnstone,R. W. (2010). Bioterror:Anthrax, influenza, and the future of public health security. Westport, Conn: Praeger Security International.

Knobler,S., Mahmoud, A. A. F., &amp Pray, L. A. (2012). Biologicalthreats and terrorism: Assessing the science and responsecapabilities: workshop summary.Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Kort,M. (2010). Weaponsof mass destruction.New York: Facts on File.

Ledgard,J. B. (2010). Alaboratory history of chemical warfare agents: A book.S.l: Jared Ledgard?.

McIsaac,J. H. (2009). Preparinghospitals for bioterror: A medical and biomedical systems approach.Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.

Mellehovitch,V. B. (2010). Bioterrorismand public health.New York: Nova Science.

Shemer,J., and Shoenfeld, Y. (2011). Terrorand Medicine: Medical Aspects of Biological, Chemical andRadiological Terrorism. Berlin:Pabst, Lengerich,

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