WHITEPAPERS: Army War College , ASM (American Society for Microbiology), CATO Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Biosecurity of UPMC, Center for Counterproliferation Research, Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute, CRS (Report for Congress), GAO (General Accounting Office), Institute for National Strategic Studies, Institute for Science and Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University, National Academy Of Engineering, National Defence University, PERI (Public Entity Risk Institute), RIS (Research & Information System), Terrorism Intelligence Centre, The Federalist Society, UNESCO (United Nations), University of Laussane, and the WMD Center.
Source: University of Lausanne
Abstract: On 11 September 2001,
a new form of terrorism was unleashed onto the world. This event, followed shortly
afterwards by the US anthrax attacks, led to a consensus that the world must
prepare for the possibility that terrorists might use biological weapons to
further their aims. Currently, the issue is no longer the ‘cold war’ threat of
biological warfare between superpowers, but of biological terrorism and biosecurity.
Prior to the events of 2001, the world was beginning to think about ‘the looming threat of bioterrorism’1 and in 1998 the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to establish an expert group to review and revise its 1970 document, Health Aspects of Chemical and Biological Weapons.
The list of category A agents collated by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox, as the greatest bioterrorism risk.3 Category A agents have a high public health impact and public perception, a moderate-to-high dissemination potential and require comprehensive public health preparedness. Russian scientists also agree that of all potential bioterrorism agents, variola virus poses the greatest threat.
A potential bioterrorist threat has been defined by three factors:
1. The vulnerability of
2. The capability of an adversary to attain, develop and deploy a pathogenic agent; and
3. The intention to do so.
It would be a huge task for any government to prepare separate plans for each
type of potential bioterrorist agent. While each organism may require some
specific action to be taken, a range of general measures to enhance the
existing health and emergency infrastructure should go a long way in dealing
with the deliberate release of pathogenic organisms. These measures would
include detection systems, healthcare infrastructure, development of integrated
responses, education, training and a crisis communication plan. Smallpox is a
good example of a disease where an outbreak could be contained and the consequences
minimised if appropriate preparedness plans exist and if counter-measures could
be taken rapidly (University of