The Patriot Files Forums  

Go Back   The Patriot Files Forums > Warfare > Nuclear/Biological/Chemical

Post New Thread  Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-18-2016, 09:37 PM
Boats's Avatar
Boats Boats is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 9,804
Post What Is the History of Biological Warfare?

What Is the History of Biological Warfare?
RE: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/biolo...article_em.htm

What Is the History of Biological Warfare?

Biological weapons include any microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi) or toxin (poisonous compounds produced by microorganisms) found in nature that can be used to kill or injure people.

The act of bioterrorism can range from a simple hoax to the actual use of these biological weapons, also referred to as agents. A number of nations have or are seeking to acquire biological warfare agents, and there are concerns that terrorist groups or individuals may acquire the technologies and expertise to use these destructive agents. Biological agents may be used for an isolated assassination, as well as to cause incapacitation or death to thousands. If the environment is contaminated, a long-term threat to the population could be created.

History: The use of biological agents is not a new concept, and history is filled with examples of their use.

Attempts to use biological warfare agents date back to antiquity. Scythian archers infected their arrows by dipping them in decomposing bodies or in blood mixed with manure as far back as 400 BC. Persian, Greek, and Roman literature from 300 BC quotes examples of dead animals used to contaminate wells and other sources of water. In the Battle of Eurymedon in 190 BC, Hannibal won a naval victory over King Eumenes II of Pergamon by firing earthen vessels full of venomous snakes into the enemy ships.

During the battle of Tortona in the 12th century AD, Barbarossa used the bodies of dead and decomposing soldiers to poison wells. During the siege of Kaffa in the 14th century AD, the attacking Tatar forces hurled plague-infected corpses into the city in an attempt to cause an epidemic within enemy forces. This was repeated in 1710, when the Russians besieging Swedish forces at Reval in Estonia catapulted bodies of people who had died from plague.

During the French and Indian War in the 18th century AD, British forces under the direction of Sir Jeffrey Amherst gave blankets that had been used by smallpox victims to the Native Americans in a plan to spread the disease.

Allegations were made during the American Civil War by both sides, but especially against the Confederate Army, of the attempted use of smallpox to cause disease among enemy forces.

Modern times: Biological warfare reached sophistication during the 1900s.

During World War I, the German Army developed anthrax, glanders, cholera, and a wheat fungus specifically for use as biological weapons. They allegedly spread plague in St. Petersburg, Russia, infected mules with glanders in Mesopotamia, and attempted to do the same with the horses of the French Cavalry.

The Geneva Protocol of 1925 was signed by 108 nations. This was the first multilateral agreement that extended prohibition of chemical agents to biological agents. Unfortunately, no method for verification of compliance was addressed.

During World War II, Japanese forces operated a secret biological warfare research facility (Unit 731) in Manchuria that carried out human experiments on prisoners. They exposed more than 3,000 victims to plague, anthrax, syphilis, and other agents in an attempt to develop and observe the disease. Some victims were executed or died from their infections. Autopsies were also performed for greater understanding of the effects on the human body.

In 1942, the United States formed the War Research Service. Anthrax and botulinum toxin initially were investigated for use as weapons. Sufficient quantities of botulinum toxin and anthrax were stockpiled by June 1944 to allow unlimited retaliation if the German forces first used biological agents. The British also tested anthrax bombs on Gruinard Island off the northwest coast of Scotland in 1942 and 1943 and then prepared and stockpiled anthrax-laced cattle cakes for the same reason.

The United States continued research on various offensive biological weapons during the 1950s and 1960s. From 1951-1954, harmless organisms were released off both coasts of the United States to demonstrate the vulnerability of American cities to biological attacks. This weakness was tested again in 1966 when a test substance was released in the New York City subway system.

During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong guerrillas used needle-sharp punji sticks dipped in feces to cause severe infections after an enemy soldier had been stabbed.

In 1979, an accidental release of anthrax from a weapons facility in Sverdlovsk, USSR, killed at least 66 people. The Russian government claimed these deaths were due to infected meat and maintained this position until 1992, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin finally admitted to the accident.

Facts on Bioterrorism and Biowarfare Today

Bioterrorism and biowarfare today: A number of countries have continued offensive biological weapons research and use. Additionally, since the 1980s, terrorist organizations have become users of biological agents. Usually, these cases amount only to hoaxes. However, the following exceptions have been noted:

In 1985, Iraq began an offensive biological weapons program producing anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin. During Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of allied forces faced the threat of chemical and biological agents. Following the Persian Gulf War, Iraq disclosed that it had bombs, Scud missiles, 122-mm rockets, and artillery shells armed with botulinum toxin, anthrax, and aflatoxin. They also had spray tanks fitted to aircraft that could distribute agents over a specific target.

In September and October of 1984, 751 people were intentionally infected with Salmonella, an agent that causes food poisoning, when followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh contaminated restaurant salad bars in Oregon.

In 1994, a Japanese sect of the Aum Shinrikyo cult attempted an aerosolized (sprayed into the air) release of anthrax from the tops of buildings in Tokyo.

In 1995, two members of a Minnesota militia group were convicted of possession of ricin, which they had produced themselves for use in retaliation against local government officials.

In 1996, an Ohio man attempted to obtain bubonic plague cultures through the mail.

In 2001, anthrax was delivered by mail to U.S. media and government offices. There were five deaths as a result.

In December 2002, six terrorist suspects were arrested in Manchester, England; their apartment was serving as a "ricin laboratory." Among them was a 27-year-old chemist who was producing the toxin. Later, on Jan. 5, 2003, British police raided two residences around London and found traces of ricin, which led to an investigation of a possible Chechen separatist plan to attack the Russian embassy with the toxin; several arrests were made.

On Feb. 3, 2004, three U.S. Senate office buildings were closed after the toxin ricin was found in a mailroom that serves Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office.

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 (on the order of pounds and often less) 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.

Delivery

Biological warfare agents can be disseminated in various ways.

Through the air by aerosol sprays: To be an effective biological weapon, airborne germs must be dispersed as fine particles. To be infected, a person must breathe a sufficient quantity of particles into the lungs to cause illness.

Used in explosives (artillery, missiles, detonated bombs): The use of an explosive device to deliver and spread biological agents is not as effective as the delivery by aerosol. This is because agents tend to be destroyed by the blast, typically leaving less than 5% of the agent capable of causing disease.

Put into food or water: Contamination of a city's water supplies requires an unrealistically large amount of an agent as well as introduction into the water after it passes through a regional treatment facility.

Absorbed through or injected into the skin: This method might be ideal for assassination, but is not likely to be used to cause mass casualties.

Detection

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.

Early detection of a biological agent in the environment allows for early and specific treatment and time enough to treat others who were exposed with protective medications. Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense is evaluating devices to detect clouds of biological warfare agents in the air.

Doctors must be able to identify early victims and recognize patterns of disease. If unusual symptoms, a large numbers of people with symptoms, dead animals, or other inconsistent medical findings are noted, a biological warfare attack should be suspected. Doctors report these patterns to public health officials.

Protective Measures

Protective measures can be taken against biological warfare agents. These should be started early (if enough warning is received) but definitely once it is suspected that a biological agent has been used. To read more about protective clothing, see Personal Protective Equipment.

Masks: Currently, available masks such as the military gas mask or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter masks used for tuberculosis exposure filter out most biological warfare particles delivered through the air. However, the face seals on ill-fitting masks often leak. For a mask to fit properly, it must be fitted to a person's face.

Clothing: Most biological agents in the air do not penetrate unbroken skin, and few organisms stick to skin or clothing. After an aerosol attack, the simple removal of clothing eliminates a great majority of surface contamination. Thorough showering with soap and water removes 99.99% of the few organisms that may be left on the victim's skin.
Medical protection: Health care professionals treating victims of biological warfare may not need special suits but should use latex gloves and take other precautions such as wearing gowns and masks with protective eye shields. Victims would be isolated in private rooms while receiving treatment.

Antibiotics: Victims of biological warfare might be given antibiotics orally (pills) or through an IV, even before the specific agent is identified.

Vaccinations: Currently, protective vaccines (given as shots) are available for anthrax, Q fever, yellow fever, and smallpox. The widespread immunization of nonmilitary personnel has not been recommended by any governmental agency so far. Immune protection against ricin and staphylococcal toxins may also be possible in the near future.

Anthrax Exposure Symptoms, Signs, and Diagnosis

Signs and Symptoms

Skin anthrax (cutaneous): Infection begins when the spores enter the skin through small cuts or abrasions. Spores then become active in the host (human or animal) and produce poisonous toxins. Swelling, bleeding, and tissue death may occur at the site of infection.

Most of the cases of anthrax involve the skin. After a person is exposed, the disease first appears in one to five days as a small pimple-looking sore that progresses over the next one to two days to contain fluid filled with many organisms. The sore is usually painless, and it may have swelling around it. Sometimes the swelling affects a person's entire face or limb.

Victims may have fever, feel tired, and have a headache. Once the sore opens, it forms a black area of tissue. The black appearance of the tissue injury gives anthrax its name from the Greek word anthrakos, meaning coal. After a period of two to three weeks, the black tissue separates, often leaving a scar. With adequate treatment, less than 1% of people infected with skin anthrax die.

Inhalation anthrax: In inhalation anthrax, the spores are inhaled into the lungs where they become active and multiply. There they produce massive bleeding and swelling inside the chest cavity. The germs then can spread to the blood, leading to shock and blood poisoning, which may lead to death.

Historically known as woolsorter's disease (because it affected people who work around sheep), inhalation anthrax can appear anywhere within one to six days, or as long as 60 days after exposure. Initial symptoms are general and can include headache, tiredness, body aches, and fever. The victim may have a nonproductive cough and mild chest pain.

These symptoms usually last for two to three days.

Some people show a short period of improvement. This is followed by the sudden onset of increased trouble breathing, shortness of breath, bluish skin color, increased chest pain, and sweating. Swelling of the chest and neck may also occur. Shock and death may follow within 24-36 hours in most people with this type of infection.

Anthrax is not spread from person to person. Inhalation anthrax is the most likely form of disease to follow a military or terrorist attack. Such an attack likely will involve the aerosolized delivery of anthrax spores.

Mouth, throat, GI tract (oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal): These cases result when someone eats infected meat that has not been cooked sufficiently. After an incubation period of two to five days, victims with oropharyngeal disease develop a severe sore throat or sores in the mouth or on a tonsil. Fever and neck swelling may occur. The victim may have trouble breathing. GI anthrax begins with nonspecific symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and fever. These are followed in most victims by severe abdominal pain. The victim may also vomit blood and have diarrhea.

Diagnosis

Doctors will perform various tests, especially if anthrax is suspected.

With skin anthrax, a biopsy is taken of the sore (lesion), and lab tests are performed to look at the organism under a microscope and confirm the diagnosis of anthrax.
The diagnosis of inhalation anthrax is difficult to make. A chest X-ray may show certain signs in the chest cavity. A CT scan of the chest may be very helpful when there is suspected inhalational anthrax. Early in the process, when the chest X-ray is still normal, the CT scan may show pleural, pericardial, and mediastinal fluid collections, enlarged hemorrhagic mediastinal lymph nodes, and bronchial airway edema. Cultures (growing the bacteria in a lab and then examining them under a microscope) are minimally helpful in making the diagnosis. Blood tests may also be performed.

GI anthrax also is difficult to diagnose because the disease is rare and symptoms are not always obvious. Diagnosis usually is confirmed only if the victim has a history of eating contaminated meat in the setting of an outbreak. Once again, cultures generally are not helpful in making the diagnosis.

Meningitis (brain swelling) from anthrax is difficult to distinguish from meningitis due to other causes. A spinal tap may be performed to look at the person's spinal fluid in identifying the organism.

The most useful microbiologic test is the standard blood culture, which is almost always positive in victims with anthrax throughout their bodies. Blood cultures should show growth in six to 24 hours and if the laboratory has been alerted to the possibility of anthrax, biochemical testing should provide a preliminary diagnosis 12-24 hours later. However, if the laboratory has not been alerted to the possibility of anthrax, there is the chance that the organism may not be identified correctly.

Rapid diagnostic tests for anthrax and its proteins include polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) testing. Currently, these tests are only available at national reference laboratories.

Additional Biological Data can be found on this site:
__________________
Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.