WHAT ARE BIOWEAPONS
Toxic materials or pathogenic substances(usually
Biological weapons are potentially deadlier than
These substances work to kill or incapacitate the host.
Biological weapons may be used to target living
organisms such as humans, animals or vegetation.
HISTORY AT A GLANCE
In 1942, British bioweapons trials severely
contaminated Gruinard Island in Scotland with
In 1979, the Soviet Union accidently released
airborne anthrax, killing 66 people in the process.
1939-1949—Second World War, Japanese army
poisoned more than 1,000 water wells in Chinese
villages to study cholera and typhus outbreaks.
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the
bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
The bacteria live in the soil, where grazing animals typically come
into contact with spores while rooting around for food.
Symptoms are fever, respiratory problems, fatigue, muscle
aches, enlarged lymph nodes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
1945: Iran outbreak causes 1 million sheep deaths.
WHY USE ANTHRAX
Relatively easy to acquire, in vitro growth (any lab media @ 37 C)
and induction of sporulation is easy.
Tularemia also known as rabbit fever is a
serious infectious disease caused by the
bacterium Francisella tularensis.
Humans typically acquire the disease through
contact with infected animals, infected insect bites, the consumption of
contaminated foods or the inhalation of the bacteria in aerosol form.
Symptoms fever, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough and
Outbreak of tularemia among German soldiers-siege of Stalingrad was due to the
release of F. tularensis by Soviet forces.
WHY USE TULERAMIA
It is easy to aerosolize
It is highly infective; between 10 and 50 bacteria are sufficient to infect victims.
Botulinum toxin is a protein and neurotoxin
produced by the bacterium Clostridium
Clostridium botulinum can kill in 24 to 72 hours, which
makes it a harmful bioweapon.
Symptoms Blurred vision, vomiting and difficulty
In 1990 the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo released an
aerosol of the toxin.
The virus naturally occurs in fruit bats.
Symptoms fever, muscle pains or
inflammation of the brain.
The outbreak occurred in the Nipah region of
Malaysia, infecting 265 and killing 105.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the
chimera combined elements of lion,
goat and serpent into one monstrous form.
In modern genetic science, a chimeric organism is a life
form that contains genes from a foreign species.
Chimera, which combines the common cold with polio, may
help cure brain cancer.
1980 Soviet Union's Chimera Project(combining of
Smallpox and Ebola).
Defense against biological agents
• Military defense
– good protective mask equipped with filters-blocking bacteria, virus
– effective biological weapon sensors-alarms to make sure of
• Civil defense
– improved since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
– Ex. the U.S. government incorporated smallpox vaccine for every
– Long-term medical research-improved vaccines.
Small amount needed
Easy/inexpensive to grow
Large amount produced in short period of time
Potential for panic
– Particles must be aerosolized .
– Rain, wind, UV light
– Bombs, and shells produce poor, localized aerosols
– Heat and shock waves (explosions) kill most organisms
Poor storage survival