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• Historical Background.
• Threat.
• Characteristics.
• Biological Agent and Toxins.
• Protection.
Historical Background
• 1346 plaque corpses flung by Catapult into besieged
• 1347-1352 25 Million Europe died known as Black
Death of Europe due to Bubonic Plaque.
• 1763 North America Indians given smallpox infected
• 1960 - Malaria in Vietnam

Biological agents are micro-organism

which produce or cause sickness to
human, animals or plants which resulted
in handicapped or damaged to materials.
1. BIOLOGICAL WARFARE. The employment in operations of
biological agents to produce casualties in man or animals and damage
to plants or material; or the defence against such employment.

2. MICRO-ORGANISM. Too small to be seen with naked eyes.

a. A microscopic (animal or vegetable) organism.
b. Phatogen: disease producing micro-organisms; pathogens
account for approximately 10% of all known micro-organisms.

3. HOST. Any animal or plant which harbours and nourishes

another organism.

4. VECTOR. The intermediate host usually an anthropod that carries

the pathogen from one host to another, example insects and spiders.

5. PARASITE. A plant or animal living on or within another

living organism or host at whose expense it is maintained.
6. INCUBATION PERIOD. The time interval between the
introduction into the body of an infectious agent and the appearance of
the first symptoms of the disease.

7. EPIDEMIC. An outbreak of a disease affecting a large

number of people at the same time in a locality and spreading from
person to person as a disease not prevalently there.

8. CULTURE. A growth of micro-organisms which is artificially


9. PROPHYLAXIS. Prevention of disease.

• Classified according to the size :

1. Fungus (largest)
2. Bacteria
3. Rickettsiae
4. Virus (smallest)
• Viruses are sub-microscopic packages of protein coated nucleic acids.
They require living cells in which to multiply and are dependent on the
cells of the host which they infect. Viruses do not respond to antibiotic
– These are the smallest in size of all micro-organisms, varying from
0.002µm to 0.2µm
– They take over the metabolic process of the host cell
– Used in biological weapons against man and animal
– Transmitted by contact, vector and airborne viruses
– They can be cultivated in synthetic solution in the laboratory.

Bacteria are small free-living organisms most of which can be grown easily in
the laboratory. They have a cell structure and they reproduce by simple
division. The diseases they produce often respond to treatments using
– Single cell plant like micro-organism
– They vary in size from 0.5µm to 1.0µm
– They comprise 60 -65% of all micro-organisms
– Spore producing bacteria are difficult to destroy as some forms are
resistant to heat, cold, chemicals and radiation
– They can be cultivated in a laboratory and are normally used as
weapons against man

Rickettsia and Chlamydia have characteristics common to both viruses and

bacteria. They grow only within living cells yet have a cell structure and
are susceptible to antibiotic treatments.
– These are the best agents to use against man
– They are similar in size to bacteria as they vary form 0.3µm to 0.5µm
– Transmitted by vectors particularly ticks, fleas, lice and mites
– Require living tissue for reproduction and survival
– They are easily killed b heat, dehydration or disinfectants

Fungi are regarded as primitive plants which do not use photosynthesis,

drawing nutrition from decaying vegetable matter and not requiring
oxygen for growth. Most fungi can exist either in a yeast-like state or as
resistant spores.
– Single or multi-cell members of the plant kingdom
– They are the largest in size of all micro-organisms varying from 3µm to 50µm
– Used primarily as anti-material agents
– They cause few diseases in man
Characteristic of Micro-organism
• Pathogenicity - Ability to produce disease.

• Virulence - Ability to break down body

defensive mechanism.

• Viability - Ability to survive.

Characteristic of Biological
• A low quantity of agent requirement to achieve the desired effects.
• An ability to rapidly provide coverage over large areas.
• Vulnerability to a wide range of both natural and synthetic counter measures.
• A delayed effect.
• A pervasive nature in that they are able to provide a quick attack over an area
and a rapid clearance of an area leaving it safe to operate in.
• Flexibility in that the severity and desired effect on the enemy can be
determined prior to deployment of the weapon.
• The benefit of being non-destructive to facilities and equipment if desired.
• The advantage of being difficult to detect and determine whether a weapon has
been used or whether the effects are due to naturally occuring micro-organism.
• The characteristic of being non-persistant in that they decay rapidly.
• The benefit of being easy to produce.
Characteristic of Biological
• Search Capability
• Detection
• Delayed Effects
• Selection of Effect
• Penetration of Structure
• Non-Destructive Properties
• Environmental Dependence
Biological agents have separate military classifications. They are :
1. Lethal and transmissible
2. Lethal and non transmissible
3. Non lethal and transmissible
4. Non lethal and non transmissible.

The four categories of biological agent are:

1. Anti-personnel
2. Anti-animal
3. Anti material
4. Anti-plant.

The practical range of options for dispersion are in :

1. The atmosphereas aerosols
2. Through foodstuffs or the water supply
3. By the use of vectors
Biological agents are extremely dependent on meteorological conditions.
Ultra violet light is lethal to many micro-organisms, they also require
relative humidity, as moisture is most important for their survival.

The following meteoroligical factors will affect the deployment of

biological warfare agents:

a. Wind speed and direction

b. Inversion conditions
c. Sunlight effects including UV radiation and temperature
d. Relative humidity
e. Toxic factors
f. Other factors, example pollution
Aerosol attack is dependent on the :
– size of the particle
– virulence of the agent
– meteorological conditions at the target

A liquid medium/micro-organism ‘soup’ can be used to preserve live

biological warfare agents in the atmosphere. This liquid medium is a
complex substance which:
– protects the agent from excessive atmospheric drying
– provide a degree of nutrition to the agent whilst airborne
– protects the agent during the transition from liquid to aerosol state by
the use of an anti-forming additive.

Micro-organism can be delivered in aerosol suspension or as liquid

contamination by the use of the protective ‘soup’. Each droplet will
consist of many micro-organisms grouped together. The size of the droplet
can be determine by the characteristic of the dispenser.

The use of animal or insects as vector is possible. However in a BW attack

vectors cannot be relied upon to behave in a predictable and concerted
manner. In addition the proboscis of most insects ia not long enough to
penetrate IPE or combat clothing.
• Aerosols or clouds of dust which have been dispersed from vehicles,
aircraft, missiles or containers attached to balloons, parachutes etc.
• Bombardment in the form of artillery shells or grenades with weak
blasting effect and low detonation sound.
• Visits by unauthorised personnel, illegal entry or suspicious personnel
entering secured areas.
• Discovery of suspicious liquid or dry substances of unknown origin in
potential sabotage target areas.
• Discovery of containers which could conceivably be used in
connection with the transport of animals, for example, ticks, lice or
• Unusual behaviour of animals, the presence of sick or dead animals of
various kinds.
• Detection of biological warfare agents in foodstuffs, water or
Snake Venom
Fungi Shellfish Poisoning
Bacteria Toadstool Poisoning
Protozoa Botulism(Food)
Rickettsiae Poisoning
No Micro-Organism Transmission Vacine Treatment

1. Fungi
Coccidioides imitis Aerosol, Contact - Available
Histoplasma capsulatum Aerosol - Available

2. Bacteria
Anthrax Aerosol, contact,Ingestion ? Available
Brucellosis Aerosol, co
ontact,Ingestion ? Available
Tularemia Aerosol, contact, High risk Available
Ingestion, Vector
Plaque Aerosol, Vector Extensive Available
Cholera Ingestion Extensive Available
Diphtheria Aerosol, Contact Extensive Available
Typhoid Fever Ingestion Extensive Available
No Micro-Organism Transmission Vacine Treatment
3. Rickettsiae
Epidemic Vector Extensive Available
Endemic Vector - Available
Rocky Mountain Fever Vector - Available
Q Fever Vector, Ingestion High risk Available

4. Viruses
Eastern Equine encephalitis Vector - No
Venezuelan equine Vector High risk No
St louis encephalitis Vector - No
Japanese B encephalitis Vector High risk No
Russian spring summer Vector ? No
Yellow fever Vector Extensive No
Dengue fever Vector ? No
Rift valley fever Vector - No
Poxvirus variola Aerosol, Contact Extensive No
Myxovirus rabies Aerosol, Contact High risk No






Anthrax: Cutaneous
Vesicle Day 6
Day 4
Day 2

Day 10

Anthrax: Cutaneous

NEJM 1999; 341: 815– 826

Anthrax: Cutaneous

Healing after treatment

Anthrax: Cutaneous

Notice the edema

and typical lesions
• Eastern Equine Encephalitis
• Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis
• Small Pox
• Yellow Fever
• Rabies
• Dengue Fever

• San Joaquin Fever
• Histoplasmosis
Ordinary Smallpox
Pustular lesions
on palms

Flattened lesions
on soles
Ordinary Type (Discreet lesions)
Hemorrhagic Type


Personnel can minimise the threat of BW attacks by:
• Conducting an effective patrol and guarding programme over areas and

• Being aware of the threat and maintaining observation thereby

maximising anti-sabotage protection.

• Using closed foodstuffs processes.

• Careful checking

• Efficient routines in connection with:

– Packaging
– Transport
– storage
Primary infections can be hindered by physical measures such as:
– Filter protection in the case of aerosol attack
– The destruction of infectious agents in food and water
– Decontamination of polluted areas and objects

Once an attack has passed and personnel have been infected, medical
treatment and procedures can limit the spread of disease and the
development of epidemic. This action may include
– Immunisation
– Quarantine
– Sanitation measures
– Personnel cleanliness training and enforcement (hygiene)
– The maintenance of good physical condition of all personnel
– Sterilisation of equipment
Biological Agent Decontamination is performed by cleaning
contaminated equipment with:
– Formaldehyde
– Soap and water
– Caustic soda
– Washing soda
– Hypochlorides
• HTH (High Test Hypochloride)
• STB (Super Tropical Bleach)
• Household Bleach