American Journal of Biomedical Research
ISSN (Print): 2328-3947 ISSN (Online): 2328-3955 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/ajbr Editor-in-chief: Hari K. Koul
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American Journal of Biomedical Research. 2017, 5(2), 24-34
DOI: 10.12691/ajbr-5-2-2
Open AccessReview Article

An Overview on Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism

Mahendra Pal1, Meron Tsegaye2, Fikru Girzaw2, Hailegebrael Bedada2, Vikram Godishala3 and Venkataramana Kandi4,

1Consultant of Veterinary Public Health and Microbiology, 4 Aangan, Jagnath Ganesh Dairy Road, Anand-388001, India

2College of Veterinary Medicine, Samara University, P.O.Box.No.132, Samara, Ethiopia

3Department of Biotechnology, Vaagdei Degree and PG College, Warangal, India

4Department of Microbiology, Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagunur, Karimnagar, India

Pub. Date: April 14, 2017

Cite this paper:
Mahendra Pal, Meron Tsegaye, Fikru Girzaw, Hailegebrael Bedada, Vikram Godishala and Venkataramana Kandi. An Overview on Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism. American Journal of Biomedical Research. 2017; 5(2):24-34. doi: 10.12691/ajbr-5-2-2

Abstract

Bioterrorism is the deliberate or threatened use of biological agents; viruses, bacteria, toxins or other agents to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Since most priority bioterrorism agents are zoonotic in origin, there is a heightened awareness and concern about the possibility of bioterrorism involving animals. Veterinarians and livestock owners may be the first to diagnose the early cases of a bioterrorist act, as livestock can be sentinels of such an exposure. List of the most likely biological agents to be used in an act of bioterrorism had been prioritized and these agents are classified into A, B and C categories. Category A agents and disease are easily transmitted from animals to human, (except for smallpox, which has no animal reservoir) person to person, having high mortality rates and potential for a major public health impact. Category B agents and disease are moderately easy to disseminate and result in moderate morbidity rates and low mortality rates. Category C agents and diseases include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass dissemination. Although society has limited ability to prevent bioterrorist attacks, there still is a need to take preventative steps to reduce potential risks for such attacks. Increased laboratory scrutiny for disease agents, greater controls for investigations involving these pathogens and other security measures implemented, are necessary to restrict access to dangerous biological agents. Detection of disease in animals may be essential in predicting a bioterrorism event since most threat agents of bioterrorism are microbes causing zoonotic diseases. Veterinarians and veterinary diagnostic laboratories should become a part of nationwide active surveillance for category A, B, and C agents and diseases, as well as for new and emerging bioterrorism agents.

Keywords:
bioterrorism biological weapons biowarfare zoonoses public health

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