From the past two decades , it is stated that the threat of biological warfare is not a myth but a harsh reality of the world . Due to the outbreak , we can recognise the high risk and consequences of bioterrorism.
This editorial provides you the overview of bioterrorism , it’s symptoms , causes , measures and impact on humans in present scenario .
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.
Biological agents spread through the air, water, or in food. Some can also spread from person to person. They can be very hard to detect. They don’t cause illness for several hours or days. Scientists worry that anthrax, botulism, Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses, plague, or smallpox could be used as biological agents.
Despite patchy intelligence, France started its own biological weapons programme in the early 1920s. It was headed by Auguste Trillat, an inventive German-educated chemist who envisioned and tested the sustained virulence of airborne pathogens.
The goal of bioterrorism is usually to create fear and/or intimidate governments or societies for the purpose of gaining political, religious, or ideological goals. Bioterrorism may have a different effect on societies than would weapons such as explosives.
The symptoms of exposure to a biological agent might include sore throat, fever, double or blurred vision, rash or skin blisters, exhaustion, difficulty talking, confusion, descending muscle weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing.
Historically, biological weapons have been a threat to humans for many centuries. At those times, very crude methods such as fecal matter, animal carcasses, etc. were used to contaminate water sources, but now the concentrated forms of biological agents such as dried spores and genetically modified organisms are available, which are fatal even in minute quantity.
During the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, a scrub typhus outbreak in north-eastern India came under suspicion. India’s defense and intelligence outfits were alert to the outbreak of pneumonic plague – well known in biological warfare – in Surat and Bubonic plague in Beed in 1994, which caused several deaths and sizeable economic loss.
There are some points that you need to consider during the outbreak :
- If you become aware of a suspicious substance, quickly get away.
- Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel.
- Depending on the situation, wear a face mask to reduce inhaling or spreading germs.
- If you have been exposed to a biological agent, remove and bag your clothes and personal items.
- Follow official instructions for disposal of contaminated items.
- Wash yourself with soap and water and put on clean clothes.
- Contact authorities and seek medical assistance. You may be advised to stay away from others or even to quarantine.
- If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention.
- Follow the instructions of doctors and other public health officials.
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
- Do not share food or utensils.