are developing an anthrax decontamination foam that can be sprayed from
handheld canisters or piped through building sprinkler systems.
infected with botulinum toxin often need artificial ventilation. A tube
in the lungs is attached to a breathing machine.
Ordinarily a cattle disease, Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. When the bacterium is inhaled, as is likely if terrorists released it into the air, the first symptoms would resemble the common cold, with death quickly following. Antibiotics work if started before symptoms appear - a daunting problem since no widely available test quickly identifies anthrax. Anthrax vaccine is available only to the military.
The World Health Organization says an anthrax attack on a city of 5 million could cause 250,000 causalities and 100,000 deaths.
Scientists have used a botulinum toxoid to protect laboratory workers, but its availability is limited, and must be taken for months before creating immunity.
In protective suits, scientists test mice for plague bacteria. There is no widely used method to detect airborne plague bacilli. Centers for Disease Control.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union began developing plague bacteria (Yersinia pestis) as an airborne bioweapon. Pneumonic plague causes fever, chills, headache, malaise and prostration, and often death within six days. Unfortunately, the attack would be detected only after people began getting seriously sick.
The World Health Organization estimates that an aerosol attack with 50 kilograms of plague over a city of 5 million would cause 150,000 cases of disease and 36,000 deaths.
Terrorists would likely unleash smallpox as an aerosol. After a long incubation period (12 to 14 days), symptoms would include high fever, malaise, prostration, headache, backache, and ultimately a horrifying rash. Sores are round, tense, and deeply embedded, and survivors are scarred for life.
patients develop an ulcer at the infection site. The less common, inhaled
form, causes sudden chills, fever, weight loss, abdominal pains, tiredness,
headaches and an unusual pneumonia that can be fatal.
The World Health Organization estimates that releasing 50 kilograms of bacteria over a city of 5 million would cause 250,000 incapacitating causalities, including some 19,000 deaths.
After incubating for one to 14 days, the disease causes a range of acute, non-specific feverish illnesses. Without antibiotic treatment, tularemia causes respiratory failure and shock; death rates reach 30 to 60 percent with some strains.
A vaccine gives incomplete protection, but the disease moves so quickly that vaccination may fail unless given before exposure. There are no simple, rapid, and reliable tests to identify those potentially infected by a tularemia attack.
You can read more in our bio-death bibliography.
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