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Biological Warfare

            Biological warfare is the use of harmful or deadly biological agents as a weapon of war. Biological weapons are a unique class of weapons because they are living organisms. These biological agents, because they are alive, pose a dangerous military threat and once released are extremely uncontrollable and unpredictable. These agents can and will kill many, many people and because of this they are considered weapons of mass destruction.
             Some biological warfare agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other living organisms that can kill or incapacitate their victims. Most biological agents can fall into one of four major groups. Three of these categories are microorganisms; these include bacteria, rickettsia, and viruses. The other category is made up of bacterial toxins these are poisonous chemicals that are produced by chemicals. The two agents that I am going to discuss are anthrax and small pox. .
             Anthrax is a highly lethal infection caused by infection with the gram-positive bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. It is said that anthrax usually will occur in hoofed animals but as we know it can also infect humans. In naturally acquired cases, organisms will gain entrance though open wounds on the surface of the skin. They also may be inhaled or ingested. Anthrax is very rarely contracted from person to person contact, if it even occurs at all. A terrorist group presumably would probably release intentional contamination, released through the aerosol route. Once released these spores can withstand to heat, cold, drying, and chemical disinfection. Spores can remain viable for several years (up to 200 years in one case) in the top six inches of soil and in animal products. Animals that die of anthrax exposure release massive amounts of spores into the soil, which may remain for decades before it is ingested again. Inhalation anthrax has an incubation period of 1-6 days.

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