Forms Of Bioterrorism

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Bioterrorism is the use of microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) or toxins by terrorist or extremists groups to produce weapons which cause death and disease among humans, animals and plants. Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against person, animals or property to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population to gain political or social objectives (CDC, 2013). The use of biological agents to cause harm or death is not a new concept; countries have been engaging in bioterrorism for hundreds of years. Bioterrorism dates back to the 14th century, when cadavers were dropped into enemy wells to poison the drinking water. Similarly bioterrorism occurred during the French and Indian War, when Native Americans were…show more content…
During the 6th century BC, the Assyrians poisoned enemy wells with a fungus that would render the enemy delirious. The advent of the germ theory of disease and advances in microbiological techniques brought a new level of sophistication to the theoretical use of bio-agents in war. Biological sabotage in the form of anthrax and glanders were undertaken on behalf of the Imperial German government during World War I (1914–1918), with indifferent results (Christophor, 2013). Bio-weapons, their status pre-world wars (I and…show more content…
As WW I saw the large-scale use of non-conventional chemical weapons, it was expected that WW II would see more extensive use of biological weapons. During this war, many countries conducted research programmes to develop bio-weapons; the Japanese programme to produce a bio-weapon, was considered as the most ambitious (1892-1959). The research in this direction started in 1928; when Lieutenant general (Lt. Gen.) Ishii visited many European and American countries to learn useful techniques and information about the possible uses of biological weapons. Upon returning to his homeland, he was provided a substantial grant in order to constitute a massive bioweapons research centre, known as the Unit 731, located at Beiyinhe in Manchuria. The research centre staffed over 3,000 scientists, mainly microbiologists. The experiments were conducted on prisoners of war, principally Koreans, Chinese and Russian soldiers. The prisoners were used to test numerous bioweapons, including Yersinia pestis, Vibrio cholera, Neisseria meningitides and Bacillus anthracis (Leitenberg, 2001). During this research, several thousand prisoners died as a result of the experiments conducted on them. However, the mortality rate around the area of Unit 731

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