Biological Terrorism Perception Paper
University of Phoenix
Biological Terrorism Perception Paper
Bioterrorism has been around for decades, affecting society in numerous ways that can harm or even kill innocent bystanders. But what really is bioterrorism? A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs to cause illness or death. These germs are often found in nature. But they can sometimes be made more harmful by increasing their ability to cause disease, spread, or resist medical treatment. (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019). The main reason that biological attacks are so lethal is the way that they are transmitted through the air, water, or in food. They may even be spread from person to person and are usually difficult to detect. The effects of these attacks may take multiple days or weeks to show symptoms to the individual, spreading rapidly with harsh consequences. Scientists in this day in age mainly worry about anthrax, botulism, Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses, plague, or smallpox that can be used as biological agents by terrorist groups. But with the help of Biodefense measures, medical organizations will do their part in protecting those who are affected by bioterrorism attacks. There are a variety of medicines and vaccinations that will help with attacks and researchers will study all attacks closely in case of future incidents.
Types of Biological Attacks
Around 20 years ago, Anthrax hit this country hard with little to no warning. The infection was caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. In 2001, there were 22 cases of the disease that were reported in the United States when many anthrax spores were distributed through the U.S. mail services. (American Academy of Pediatrics., 2019). Because of this, most Americans are now aware of the infection and its possible use as a biological weapon. But around the same time, naturally occurring anthrax infections in both humans and animals remained rare. These infections in humans can spread through simple contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. These products include; hides, wool, hair, and undercooked meat. But thankfully with the technology of those days and now, there is an anthrax vaccine and it is available in the United States. Yet, it has not been fully tested and with that, they do not recommend it for children or pregnant women. Researchers are currently studying newer vaccines with fewer side effects that may be distributed to all who are affected by it.
At one time they called it the “Black Death,” this plague killed millions of innocent people in earlier times even before the discovery of antibiotics. Back in the 1300s, the plague took a toll on society and killed as many as 20 to 30 million people in Europe. (American Academy of Pediatrics., 2019). Even with new technology today and the improvement of sanitation throughout the globe, there have been around 1,000 or more new cases each year, including some in the United States. The proper term for this horrendous plague is called Yersinia pestis. Most of these cases where there is an occurrence of the plague are close contact with wild animals who can carry the bacteria and many of them have been reported in several western states in the United States. This disease occurs in rural areas and usually tend to evolve in the summertime. Children are more often affected by the disease and can be treated with very effective antibiotics such as gentamicin. All treatments are giving daily for 7 to 10 days or until several days after the fever breaks. Even some pediatricians recommend that the lymph nodes must be drained constantly in children with bubonic plague.
Preparation for Biological Attack
When people here biological terrorism they automatically think the worst possible. Any kind of terrorism is scary, but it is important for all individuals who may be affected by the attack to be prepared as they possibly can. These attacks may come from anywhere and
can cause havoc to all in its path. But with the help of emergency departments that are properly trained to understand and overcome these types of attacks, there should be less worrying and more training. Bioterrorism attacks are used with today’s technology creating mass casualties, diseases, disabilities, and even death. The best defense mechanism for attacks like these is preparedness. Educating the public, health care providers, clinics and hospitals on how to treat others for when an attack is occurring. There must be a well-established and develop a plan for communication and help the population understand how it will affect them. The general population must have a strong bond and be able to bounce back from any attack on their community. Working together to ensure their town can be recovered quickly back to living standards as the way it once was. Any disaster from natural to man-made it is hard to recover and that is why it is important to enable the communities to be able to handle the loss and devastation from an attack. Ensuring that each community and its citizens have a plan of action in case a biologically related event occurs is the best way to reduce the public’s perception of risk.
Bioterrorism can affect society in several ways, especially since biological agents are fairly easy and cheap to obtain, can be easily dispersed, and can cause widespread fear and panic beyond the actual physical damage. These agents may spread quickly through the air, water sources, or even food supplies, crippling citizens or even troops that are on the first line of defense. With many cases where countries utilize these means of attack on enemies, they have had setbacks on the number of individuals who are harmed by the agents. Many military leaders have at times experimented with these biological agents, learning that it may be difficult to pinpoint the weapon to its enemies and not affect their troops at the same time. Terrorists usually use a biological weapon against enemies to create mass panic and disruption to a state or a country.
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