Where Anthrax Is Found
Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions of Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, central and southwestern Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.
Anthrax is rare in the United States, but sporadic outbreaks do occur in wild and domestic grazing animals such as cattle or deer. Anthrax is more common in developing countries and countries that do not have veterinary public health programs that routinely vaccinate animals against anthrax. In the United States, yearly vaccination of livestock is recommended in areas where animals have had anthrax in the past.
Containment Treatment And Avoidance
Detection of airborneanthrax requires 24â48 hours. Rapid detection in the atmosphere is not yet technologically effective. The system put in place on 22 January 2003 to assist in detecting an airborneanthrax attack by the United States is the U.S. Bio-watch Surveillance Network, which is able to detect airborneanthrax within 24â48 hours, however with some false positives and false negatives, leading to severe lag in detection and critical time lost for prevention and treatment.
Vaccination to anthrax is available, requiring 6 shots over an 18-month period and annual booster shots for full immunity.Vaccination of military personnel and first responders is vital to sustain a post attack response. The complete vaccination of an entire population can be achieved over a period of years, resulting in the reduction of risk from anthrax comparable to the reduction of risk of nuclear weapons by anti-ballistic missile systems.
Once exposure occurs and before the fulminant stage, antibiotic treatment of ciprofloxacin 400 mg or doxycycline 100 mg intravenously twice daily as well as two other antibiotics and close clinical observation for a 60-100 day period is recommended.
The Anthrax Attacks And Its Effects On The United States
pronounced dead. The cause: anthrax. While this quick turn of events came as a shock to the people in his life, Mr. Curseens story was not unheard of. In fact, cases like his were appearing almost every day, and it was soon discovered that anthrax had been placed in letters sent via the postal service in a direct attempt to harm people. This act of terrorism alarmed the world. While government officials and the media discussed bombings, shootings, and hijackings, biological agents were not a focus of
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Occupational Safety And Health Administration
In Focus: Ebola
Frederick A. Murphy/CDC
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is experiencing a significant, ongoing Ebola outbreak. OSHA’s Ebola webpage provides a comprehensive source of information for protecting workers from exposure to the Ebola virus, including airline crews who travel to affected regions.
This page provides a listing of the Safety and Health Topics pages OSHA maintains for various biological agents and toxins. Each of these pages offers detailed information about the specific biological agent or group of agents on which it focuses, including sections on identifying possible worker health hazards and control measures to prevent exposures.
Anthrax. Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. It is generally acquired following contact with anthrax-infected animals or anthrax-contaminated animal products.
In Focus: Ebola
Frederick A. Murphy/CDC
International Biological Weapons Programs
In 1942 and 1943 n-bomb cluster munition, containing anthrax spores were detonated over Gruinard Island, as a joint research program between the United States, Canada and Great Britain. 80 sheep were placed on the island prior to the dispersal of aerosolanthrax all of them died. More interest in Gruinard Island came in the early 1980s when a survey discovered that there was still anthraxcontamination in the environment, showing the long term effects of anthrax use as a biological weapon. In 1986 Great Britain the island with a mixture of formaldehyde and seawater, and was passed as safe by a group of scientists led by the secretary of the Agricultural and Food research Council in 1988 after 40 sheep were raised on the island for several months without symptoms of anthraxinfection.
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Are There Enough Drugs To Go Around In Case Of A Widespread Outbreak Or Attack With Chemical Or Biological Weapons
The government has gathered enough smallpox vaccine for everyone in the U.S. in the event of a smallpox attack. No such supply is available for anthrax . And there currently is no vaccine available for the plague, but one is being developed. Antibiotics are the first line of defense against anthrax, the plague, and most other bacterial biological threats. Antidotes can treat those who have been exposed to some chemical agents.
The CDC’s National Pharmaceutical Stockpile Program sets aside a large supply of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, and other supplies in case of emergency. The goal is to send materials within 12 hours of notification to any U.S. location in the event of a terrorist attack with a biological or chemical agent. The program is a backup to local response and is deployed upon request by the states. The federal government has made arrangements with pharmaceutical companies to make large amounts of additional emergency supplies.
Biowarfare Programs After World War Ii
During the years immediately after World War II, newspapers were filled with articles about disease outbreaks caused by foreign agents armed with biological weapons . During the Korean War, the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea accused the USA of using agents of biological warfare against North Korea . In later years the USA admitted that it had the capability of producing such weapons, although it denied having used them. However, the credibility of the USA was undermined by its failure to ratify the Geneva Protocol of 1925, by public acknowledgment of its own offensive biological warfare program, and by suspicions of collaboration with former Unit 731 scientists .
In fact, the US program expanded during the Korean War with the establishment of a new production facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. In addition, a defensive program was launched in 1953 with the objective of developing countermeasures, including vaccines, antisera, and therapeutic agents, to protect troops from possible biological attacks. By the late 1960s, the US military had developed a biological arsenal that included numerous biological pathogens, toxins, and fungal plant pathogens that could be directed against crops to induce crop failure and famine .
Other allegations occurred during the postWorld War II period :
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Iraq Biological Weapons Program
In 1995 UNSCOM inspectors discovered that Iraq had a biological weapons program, despite an agreement ending the Gulf War in 1991, that all programs involving weapons of mass destruction are accounted for and ended.
In July 1995 documents were confirmed by defectors who ran Iraq’s biological warfare program that the biological weapons program produced a large variety of biological weapons, including anthrax, which was able to be delivered by missiles, bombs and aerosols. It was also discovered that there was an arsenal of these weapons in 1991.
Biological Warfare And Bioterrorism: A Historical Review
Because of the increased threat of terrorism, the risk posed by various microorganisms as biological weapons needs to be evaluated and the historical development and use of biological agents better understood. Biological warfare agents may be more potent than conventional and chemical weapons. During the past century, the progress made in biotechnology and biochemistry has simplified the development and production of such weapons. In addition, genetic engineering holds perhaps the most dangerous potential. Ease of production and the broad availability of biological agents and technical know how have led to a further spread of biological weapons and an increased desire among developing countries to have them. This article explains the concepts of biological warfare and its states of development, its utilization, and the attempts to control its proliferation throughout history. The threat of bioterrorism is real and significant it is neither in the realm of science fiction nor confined to our nation.
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Anthrax Exposure Symptoms Signs And Diagnosis
Anthrax bacteria occur worldwide. The United States Working Group on Civilian Biodefense and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention have identified anthrax as one of a few biological agents capable of causing death and disease in sufficient numbers to cripple a developed region or urban setting. The organisms known as Bacillus anthracis may ordinarily produce disease in domesticated as well as wild animals such as goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and swine. Humans become infected by contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Infection occurs mainly through the skin and rarely by breathing spores or swallowing them. Spores exist in the soil and become aerosolized when the microorganisms are released into the air by excavation, plowing, or other disruptive actions.
Apart from biological warfare, anthrax in humans is rare. In the United States, only 127 cases of anthrax appeared in the early years of the 20th century and dropped to about one per year during the 1990s.
Signs and Symptoms
Skin anthrax : Infection begins when the spores enter the skin through small cuts or abrasions. Spores then become active in the host and produce poisonous toxins. Swelling, bleeding, and tissue death may occur at the site of infection.
Doctors will perform various tests, especially if anthrax is suspected.
How Can Anthrax Be Prevented
Preventing the disease in animals will protect human health. Breaking the cycle of infection is the basis for control of anthrax in livestock. If a potential infectious source is known to exist, this should be eliminated without delay.
In the event of a case or outbreak occurring in livestock, control measures consist of correct disposal of the carcass, decontamination of the site and of items used to test and dispose of the carcass, and initiation of treatment and/or vaccination of other animals as appropriate. The best disposal method is incineration. The carcass should not be opened, since exposure to oxygen will allow the bacteria to form spores.Early detection of outbreaks, quarantine of affected premises, destruction of diseased animals and fomites, and implementation of appropriate sanitary procedures at abattoirs and dairy factories will ensure the safety of products of animal origin intended for human consumption.
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How Is Anthrax In Humans Treated
Hospitalization is required for all human cases of anthrax. Individuals potentially exposed to anthrax spores may be provided with prophylactic treatment. Anthrax responds well to antibiotics, which need to be prescribed by a medical professional. Always follow medical advice on how to take the antibiotics. Precisely follow the instructions and do not shorten the course of treatment. Should any side effects of the treatment be noted, please consult a physician at once. Nobody should attempt to use antibiotics or any other drugs to treat or protect themselves without first getting medical advice.
Arguments Against The Ebola Virus
Honestly, the threat of a biological attack is very real. Take this threat back just twenty years ago with the Japanese Sarin Cult, that it was discovered that they had within their inventory of biological weapons Ebola and Anthrax . How they gain access to these deadly viruses is somewhat unknown, but still they were obtained. Currently, research organizations and laboratories that carry these viruses are monitored and the security around the faculties is very advanced. But the Ebola
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Biology Of B Anthracis
B. anthracis is a Gram positive, rod-shaped, aerobic, facultative anaerobic, sporulating, capsulated bacterium. It measures 1-1.2 m in width and 3-5 m in length. Under microscope, it appears as chain like structure. Though an aerobic organism, yet B. anthracis can survive in anaerobic environment because of its property of sporulation. In fact, it can survive for several years in soil, air and water in the form of spores. Unaffected to harsh environment, spores are resistant to high temperature, pressure, pH, chemicals, UV and deficiency of nutrients. The capsule is composed of -linked poly-D-glutamic acid which gives mucoid appearance to the colony. Formation of capsule decides the virulence of bacteria. The capsule itself is non-toxic and doesnt provoke immune system of the host. However, it contributes significantly in establishing the infection, once the organism escapes phagocyte action, later phase of disease is controlled by anthrax toxin.
Toxins Of B Anthracis
In soil, B. anthracis is found in its highly resistant en-dospore form and therefore, can remain live for a very long period in this state. Spores of B. anthracis can find entry in the body through lungs, skin lesion or gastrointestinal route and germinate to yield vegetative form. In case of cutaneous infections, B. anthracis comes into contact with a skin lesion, or cut. In inhalational cases, herbivorous and sometimes humans are infected after inhalation of spores. After inhalation, these spores reach alveoli of lungs through air passages. Generally, herbivores get gastrointestinal anthrax infection during grazing or browsing an anthrax spore infested agricultural field having spiky or rough vegetation. Gastrointestinal tract of animals probably gets wounds due to eating of spiky vegetation which facilitates the entry of spores into tissues and resulting in gastrointestinal anthrax.
The virulence of B. anthracis is attributed to a tripartite anthrax toxin and a poly-D-glutamic acid capsule. After entry into the host through ingestion or skin wounds, B. anthracis multiply inside the tissues of animal or human host, spread in the lymphatic system and undergo rapid multiplication. This results in production of anthrax toxin inside the body and causes death of host within a few days or weeks.
How Are Biological Agents Delivered And Detected
Although there are more than 1,200 biological agents that could be used to cause illness or death, relatively few possess the necessary characteristics to make them ideal candidates for biological warfare or terrorism agents. The ideal biological agents are relatively easy to acquire, process, and use. Only small amounts would be needed to kill or incapacitate hundreds of thousands of people in a metropolitan area. Biological warfare agents are easy to hide and difficult to detect or protect against. They are invisible, odorless, tasteless, and can be spread silently.
Biological warfare agents can be disseminated in various ways.
Biological agents could either be found in the environment using advanced detection devices, after specific testing, or by a doctor reporting a medical diagnosis of an illness caused by an agent. Animals may also be early victims and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Protective measures can be taken against biological warfare agents. These should be started early but definitely once it is suspected that a biological agent has been used. To read more about protective clothing, see Personal Protective Equipment.
Early Use Of Biological Warfare
Infectious diseases were recognized for their potential impact on people and armies as early as 600 BC . The crude use of filth and cadavers, animal carcasses, and contagion had devastating effects and weakened the enemy . Polluting wells and other sources of water of the opposing army was a common strategy that continued to be used through the many European wars, during the American Civil War, and even into the 20th century.
Military leaders in the Middle Ages recognized that victims of infectious diseases could become weapons themselves . During the siege of Caffa, a well-fortified Genoese-controlled seaport , in 1346, the attacking Tartar force experienced an epidemic of plague . The Tartars, however, converted their misfortune into an opportunity by hurling the cadavers of their deceased into the city, thus initiating a plague epidemic in the city. The outbreak of plague followed, forcing a retreat of the Genoese forces. The plague pandemic, also known as the Black Death, swept through Europe, the Near East, and North Africa in the 14th century and was probably the most devastating public health disaster in recorded history. The ultimate origin of the plague remains uncertain: several countries in the Far East, China, Mongolia, India, and central Asia have been suggested .
Biological Weapons And Chemical Weapons
AbstractBiochemical weapons distribute deadly toxins and microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria, with the intent too inflict disease among humans, animals, and agriculture. Biochemical attacks could in fact result in destruction of food plots, temporarily upsetting a small community, and killing large amounts of people, or more outcomes. The way that a biochemical weapon is dispersed depends on many factors. Such as: the agent itself the preparation its durability and route of infection
The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention
During the late 1960s, public and expert concerns were raised internationally regarding the indiscriminate nature of, unpredictability of, epidemiologic risks of, and lack of epidemiologic control measures for biological weapons . In addition, more information on various nationsbiological weapons programs became evident, and it was obvious that the 1925 Geneva Protocol was ineffective in controlling the proliferation of biological weapons. In July 1969, Great Britain submitted a proposal to the UN Committee on Disarmament outlining the need to prohibit the development, production, and stockpiling of biological weapons . Furthermore, the proposal provided for measures for control and inspections, as well as procedures to be followed in case of violation. Shortly after submission of the British proposal, in September 1969, the Warsaw Pact nations under the lead of the Soviet Union submitted a similar proposal to the UN. However, this proposal lacked provisions for inspections. Two months later, in November 1969, the World Health Organization issued a report regarding the possible consequences of the use of biological warfare agents .
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