Biological Agent Essay

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Biological agents are easy to develop as weapons. They are more lethal than chemical weapons, less expensive and more difficult to detect than nuclear weapons. Biological agents are microorganisms that are found in nature, but there is a possibility to modify these organisms to increase their virulence, make them resistant to current antibiotics or vaccines, or to enhance the ability to be disseminated into the environment. Biological agents are attractive alternative to conventional weapons because of their relatively low costs, their relative accessibility, and the relative ease in which they could be produced, delivered, and avoid detection. Their use, or even threatened use, is potentially capable of producing widespread social disruption.…show more content…
Human to human transmission is extremely rare and reported only with cutaneous anthrax. When the animal dies due to anthrax, the animal carcasses become infectious, and when the animal decomposes, the spores can again mix with the soil and the transmission cycle continues. The bacterium often penetrates the body via wounds in the skin and may also infect humans as aerosol or ingestion. The ability of sporulation and resistance of the spores to harsh environmental conditions like heat and humidity, disinfectants and UV radiation makes anthrax the most important biological warfare agent. It is reported that the spores can survive up to 40 years in water or soil. Antibiotic prophylaxis Anthrax can be treated in its earliest stages with penicillin (often delivered intravenously), tetracycline, ciprofloxacin or doxycycline. Evidence of antibiotic effectiveness comes from use in human and animals infected with Bacillus anthracis. Antibiotics related to ciprofloxacin including chloramphenicol, erythromycin and some cephalosporins were also found to be effective. The antibiotic treatment is highly effective in early stage of the disease and becomes largely ineffective in later stages with severe complications. Attenuated spore based vaccine is available for use in animals

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