Brightwood Career Institute
Jacqueline Gilkey BS, RRT, CPFT
The United States government defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, a civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (Medicine Net, 2015, para. 1). When the word terrorism is used, it does not specify what kinds of weapons are being used. Weapons involved in terrorism could include nuclear bombs or traditional weapons, such as guns and other weapons such as chemical or biological agents. Chemical agents include vapors, aerosols and gases that are man-made and have a distinct odor and taste; these agents have an immediate response. Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, or germs and their associated toxins. These agents are natural and are tasteless and odorless with a delayed response that would get worse with time (WebMD, 2014). “During the past century, more than 500 million people died of infectious diseases. Several tens of thousands of these deaths were due to the deliberate release of pathogens or toxins” (Frischknecht, 2003, para. 1). Terrorism involving the intentional release of biological agents is called bioterrorism.
Bioterrorism dates back to as early as 600 BC. It was then recognized that filth, cadavers, and animal carcasses could weaken the enemy. “Polluting wells and other sources of water of the opposing army was a common strategy that continued to be used through the many European wars, during the American Civil War, and even into the 20th century” (Riedel, 2004, para. 2). In the middle ages, it was recognized that victims of infectious diseases could become weapons themselves. Using people with diseases as weapons was first experimented in 1346 when the Tartar force experienced the Black Death. During the siege of Caffa, the Tartars took the cadavers of the...