Use of Biological Weapons (Source "The Textbook of Military Medicine", Borden Institute, 1997)

Eitzen, Edward M. “Use of Biological Weapons.” Chapter 20, pp. 437-450.
Iin Sidell, Frederick. et al (eds.) Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Part I. The Textbook of Military Medicine. Office of the Surgeon General, Borden Institute, 1997.

Abstract: Biological agents must be considered in terms of an evolving world, where advances in modern technology and weapons delivery systems (eg, longrange cruise missiles with multiple warheads) have overcome some of the earlier physical limitations. For a number of reasons, some that might be useful on a small scale, such as an assassination weapon or a terrorist weapon, would normally not be applicable on a large scale. The key factors that make a biological pathogen or toxin suitable for a large-scale biowarfare attack include: (a) availability or ease of production in sufficient quantity; ( b) the ability to cause either lethal or incapacitating effects in humans at doses that are achievable and deliverable; (c) appropriate particle size in aerosol; (d) ease of dissemination; (e) stability (while maintaining virulence) after production in storage, weapons, and the environment; and (f) susceptibility of intended victims with nonsusceptibility of friendly forces. We will examine each of these requirements for a suitable agent in greater detail below. However, healthcare providers and medical planners must always remember that biological agents could be used in a wide variety of scenarios. What may look like an ordinary outbreak of diarrheal disease early in a deployment could be, instead, a case of sabotage of food or water supplies with an infectious agent. This type of operation might even be carried out by enemy special forces against our soldiers in garrison at home or deep behind friendly lines.

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(Source: Air University of Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama, USA)

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