Apr 6, 2014
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BIOTERRORISM

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Terror attacks on civilian communities using biological agents such as ANTHRAX and SMALLPOX. Particular problems in detecting and handling attacks are the time lags between exposure of a population to dangerous agents and the onset of victims’ symptoms, and the fact that early symptoms might initially be taken as the result of a naturally occurring disease. Management of any biological attack must depend on systems already in place for managing new diseases, new epidemics or traditional diseases. The effectiveness of public-health surveillance varies widely from country to country, and even advanced economies may not have the staff and facilities to investigate anything other than a recognised epidemic. As attacks might well occur without warning, tackling them could be a daunting task. Intelligence warnings about proposed attacks might, however, allow for some preventive and curative measures to be set up. Medical experts in the US believe that deployment of existing community disaster teams working to pre-prepared plans, and the development of specially trained strike teams, should cut the numbers of casualties and deaths from a bioterrorist attack. Nevertheless, bioterrorism is an alarming prospect.

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Medical Dictionary

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