The Threats of Biological Warfare Essay

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The term “biological warfare” has been used quite frequently lately. We see it on the news, read it in magazines and newspapers, and hear about it in the political rhetoric of the day. However, the sad reality is that most Americans are not well informed about how dangerous the threat of biological warfare really is. Not only that, but our own government is not even prepared to deal with a biological attack, something that is more probable than most of us would like to believe.

Biological warfare is not all that complicated. Put simply, it is essentially using diseases against your enemies in order to cripple them. The concept is not all that new, either. Americans used it against the Native American population during the
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The problem is that sometimes even the informed citizen seems calm in the face of a biological threat. It appears that Americans have this almost ludicrous sense of invincibility. Where does this self-assurance come from? Maybe it is easy to be confident when you live in a nation that is a superpower, has the latest technology, and employs the best doctors and scientists in the world. Our children are vaccinated using only the latest techniques and our faith in antibiotics borders on ridiculous. (How often do we see doctors giving antibiotics to treat viruses?) With all of these things, it is difficult to believe that any disease can beat us. But this line of thinking is gravely mistaken. We are only pulling the wool over our own eyes.

Many of the biological weapons of choice do not have adequate cures or vaccines associated with them. One of these is anthrax (see www.defenselink.mil). Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It is a disease that grazing animals such as cows get and pass to humans. Humans have known about anthrax for centuries, but it has recently come into the limelight as a weapon of mass destruction. There are several ways for a human to contract anthrax, but the most deadly is through inhalation of the anthrax spores. It is initially difficult to diagnose because of it vague symptoms including coughing and fever. Sometimes these symptoms are alleviated for a day, but the victim usually dies after
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