Top Best Bioterrorism Writers
What is Bioterrorism?
Bioterrorism can be defined as a type of terrorism that involves the use of biological agents. These agents are intentionally released to cause harm. Examples of biological agents are viruses and bacteria.
Besides these biological agents, weapons such as nuclear bombs, guns, and chemical agents can also be used in bioterrorism. Biological agents are made with the sole purpose of injuring and killing plants, animals and people.
Besides causing harm, the other goal of bioterrorism is to push for the political and social goals of the bioterrorists. They do this by targeting civilians to show them that they cannot be protected by their government.
Biological agents used by bioterrorists are found naturally although terrorists modify them further to make them more dangerous. Biological agents are transmitted from one person to another. It could take hours or days for them to manifest.
Biological agents can be described as the toxins or organisms used to destroy or kill plants, animals, and people. Biological weapons usually cause sickness. Biological agents can be divided into three categories: viruses, toxins, and bacteria.
Some of the ways through which biological agents are spread are through contact among people, spraying in the air, contaminating food and water, and infecting animals which then pass the disease to human beings.
Warning signs of a bioterrorism attack
Several systems have been put in place by governments to be able to detect chemical, biological, and radiation terrorist attacks although they are yet to be perfected. Healthcare providers in the community are advised to be on the lookout for unusual diseases. Unusual in the sense that such diseases are not likely to be witnessed in the area.
Other clues that may cause suspicion of bioterrorism are people developing a resistance to antibiotics. This occurs because bioterrorists modify biological agents, in this case, bacteria to make them more harmful so that they can cause an increase in the number of cases of sick people.
People should always remain vigilant for bioterrorism since it can happen at any time and any place. Some occurrences should raise alarm. These include an increased number of sick people in a small geographic area, an increased number of dead people, and dead animals of different species.
Biological Agents for Bioterrorism
Not all the agents mentioned above are used by bioterrorists. Some are more likely to be used due to their availability and ease of dissemination. Biological agents can be classified into different types depending on their likelihood of being used by bioterrorists and the magnitude of the harm they are likely to cause.
What is more important is for people to learn and understand the danger of bioterrorism and how to respond to an act of bioterrorism. Here are a few important things to know:
- Before a biological threat – a biological attack may be apparent or not. Before the actual attack, there will be reports of unusual illnesses being made by health care providers. In addition, there will be groups of people going to hospitals and clinics with unusual symptoms in need of emergency medical attention. When this happens, the general public is usually alerted through the media. When preparing for a biological attack, people should stay alert and prepare by stacking up enough of their basic needs. Important things to have are:
- Food- it is important to stack food enough for three days with an additional stock for an extra 4 days for each person and pet.
- Water – there should be 3 gallons for each person in the kit with an extra 4 gallons per person and pet.
- Items for the disabled, those with allergies, and the elderly – items such as hearing aid batteries, prescription and nonprescription medications, special foods, denture items, inhalers, and other important items.
- Items for infants – it is important to remember essential items such as medications, powdered milk, pacifiers, diapers, formula, and bottles.
- Kitchen accessories – kitchen items such as resealable plastic bags, plastic wrap, salt, disposable cups and plates, manual can opener, utility knife, basic utensils, sugar, salt, and aluminum foils should be stored.
- A first aid kit
- Flashlights and extra pairs of new batteries.
- A blanket and a sleeping bag for each person
- A portable, television or battery-powered radio and extra fresh batteries.
- Sanitation and hygiene items -items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, brush, comb, lip balm, sunscreen, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper, feminine supplies, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, chlorine, and plastic buckets.
- One complete change of clothing and footwear for each person – it is important to include rain gear, sturdy work boots or shoes, and any other items fit for the season.
- Entertainment – books, games, favorite stuffed animals and dolls for little children
- A map of the area – it’s important to have a map marked with their telephone numbers and places they could go to.
- Copies of medical prescriptions
- Cash and copies of credit cards
- Matchboxes stored in waterproof containers
- A small tent, shovel, and compass
- An extra set of IDs and keys including car keys, passports, work identification badges, keys for properties owned, and extra copies of driver’s license.
- Other essential items – including pencils, paper, thread, needles, medicine dropper, whistle emergency preparedness manual, and small fire extinguishers.
- It is also advisable to install a high-efficiency particulate air filter in the furnace to filter out biological agents.
- During a biological threat – one way to know when there is a biological attack is the occurrence of symptoms of diseases that are caused by biological agents. At the start of a biological attack, there is little or no information as to how people should respond. Public health officials will need to take time to understand the illness, how to treat it, its mode of transmission, and who is at risk of the illness.
during a bioterrorism threat, it is important too;
- If you suspect that you may have come into contact with a suspicious substance, it is important to get away as fast as possible.
- Depending on the attack, it is advisable to wear protective gear such as wearing face masks to reduce spreading the germs or inhaling the germs. The recommended type of face mask is the high-efficiency particulate air mask although they can be too expensive for more people. Those who cannot them can use surgical masks.
- Watch television and listen to the radio to get any official news and information about the signs and symptoms to look out for, areas in danger, if any vaccinations or medications are being distributed as well as where people feeling sick can get medical attention.
- Cover the nose and mouth with layers of breathable fabric that can filter the air. For instance, people can use layers of cotton such as a handkerchief, a t-shirt, and a towel.
- If one has been exposed to a biological agent, they should remove their clothes and personal items and put them in the bag. Thereafter, they should dispose of them according to the instructions stipulated for disposal of contaminated items.
- After, they should wash with soap and water and wear fresh clothes. Biological agents are not able to penetrate the skin. Washing with soap and water can help prevent exposing other family members to the biological agent.
- One can then seek medical assistance and contact authorities. A person that has been exposed to a biological agent may be required to self-isolate or quarantine.
- Avoid sharing utensils and food
- Avoid crowded places
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water
- It is important to follow instructions given by public health officials and doctors
- If an exposed person experiences symptoms close to those described by health officials, they seek emergency medical attention.
- After a biological threat – after a biological threat, it is important to be keen and attentive to be aware of the official warnings and instructions given to guide people on how to go forward. Medical services will be in high demand and thus may be handled differently. Medical protocols and procedures used to handle people who have been exposed to biological agents are similar to those of other infectious diseases.
To date, bioterrorism remains a potential threat. Bioterrorism threats can be both international and local. Public health experts suggest that timely surveillance, being aware of the diseases and illnesses that are likely to be caused by bioterrorism can help in a great way when facing a bioterrorism attack.
In addition, governments should always have the capacity to investigate epidemics to rule out acts of bioterrorism. When under a bioterrorism attack, it is important to enhance the capacity of diagnostic laboratories and to communicate fast every piece of critical information through the media to manage public communication and avoid misinformation that can create panic.
Other key interventions include ensuring hospitals have an adequate supply of drugs, important vaccines, and enough laboratory reagents. From time to time, hospitals and health institutions should conduct drills to help them be prepared in the event of a bioterrorism attack. In addition, they should formulate SOPs specific to bioterrorism and practice them from time to time.