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Biological Terrorism Outline

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Biological Terrorism



I. Because biological weapons are easy to manufacture as well as easy to deploy, they have, at times, been referred to as a “poor man’s nuclear bomb”

A. Biological weapons have the capability of

injuring or killing hundreds of thousands of


B. It is also the intent of terrorists to use

biological terrorism to cripple our food and

water sources.

C. FEMA suggests the following procedures should be


before a biological attack takes place.

1.“Check with your doctor to ensure all

required or suggested immunizations are

up to date.

a. Children and older adults

are particularly vulnerable to

biological agents.”

2. Consider installing a High Efficiency

Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in your

furnace return duct. These filters

remove particles in the 0.3 to 10 micron

range and will filter out most

biological agents that may enter your

house. If you do not have a central

heating or cooling

system, a stand-alone portable HEPA

filter can be used.

D. Biological agents can be classified into

three groups. They are:

1. Bacteria

2. Viruses

3. Toxins

II. Bacterial Bological Agents

A. Antrax: caused by anthrax bacteria or it

spores. There are three types:

1. Inhalational : Breathe in the spores

2. Cutaneous (skin). Spores are introduced

through cuts and or abrasions into the


3. Gastrointestinal: eating the

contaminated meat of INfected animals

that is not properly cooked. Intestinal

anthrax is very rare.

B. Anthrax cannot be passed from person to



III. Viruses Viruses are the simplest type of microorganism

and are much smaller than bacteria. Viruses lack a

system for their own metabolism and are therefore

dependent on host cells to provide the

necessary machinery for them to survive.

Small pox is a virus

A. Small pox is spread by through direct contact

with respiratory droplets, aerosols,

secretions and skin lesions of an infected


B. Small pox is highly contagious from the time

the rash appears until the last pox falls off.

1. Direct and fairly prolonged face-

to-face contact (less than six

hours but more than three hours)

generally is required to spread

smallpox from person-to-person.

C. Although less common, it can be transmitted

through contact with contaminated clothing or


D. Animals or insects cannot spread smallpox.

IV. Toxins: Biological toxins are poisonous (toxic) substances that are produced by a variety of living organisms such as fungi, flowering plants, bacteria and animals.

A. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B is an example of

a toxin which could be used by terrorists.

B. Thrives in unrefrigerated meats, dairy and

bakery products.

1. Usually does not cause death but is a


2. Profoundly incapacitating illness

lasting as long as 2 weeks.

V. Biological terrorism is hard to detect.

A . If the government officials were aware of an

attack, they would give directions through

the Early Alert System (EAS)

to either shelter in place or evacuate


B. However, most attacks would be

completed before

government officials were aware of such

an attack.

VI. Possible warning signs if a biological attack

A. Animals or people dying.

VII. What can you do to be safer.

A. A common facemask - the N95 dust mask -

will provide protection against such agents

as anthrax. These masks are

inexpensive and readily available at

hardware stores.

B. Shelter in place:

1. Stay in a building or other shelter.

2. If you are outdoors, go inside


3. If there are contaminants, you can

provide a minimal amount of

protection by covering

your mouth and nose

with a cloth or other material such

as newspaper.

4. If you have to gather up family

members, protect your

body as much as possible.

5 If possible, bring your pets

indoors, but do not put yourself

at risk for your pets.

6. Locate and keep your disaster

supplies kit with you.

7. Close all windows. Turn off all

fans, heating and air

conditioning systems. Close the

fireplace damper.

8. Go to an aboveground room (not the

basement) with the

fewest windows and doors.

9. Wet some towels and jam them in the

crack under the doors. Use duct

tape to seal around doors, windows,

exhaust fans and vents. Use plastic

garbage bags to cover

windows, outlets and heat


10. Stay in the room and listen to your

Emergency Alert

System (EAS) radio and television

station for information and

instruction or until you are told

all is safe.








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