Friday, February 29, 2008

Zoonoses as Biological Weapons

While it is generally known that throughout the 19th century numerous countries have utilized various programs to develop biological agents as weapons for war, what is lesser known is that a majority of these agents are zoonoses. Anthrax, plague, tularemia, and rabies are just a few examples of the many zoonoses used in biological warfare. The fact that most zoonoses are not highly contagious and are relatively easy to control and deploy makes them a favorable choice for biological weapons. Furthermore, Dr. David R. Franz, the Vice President of the Chemical and Biological Defense Division Southern Research Institute claims that they are also appealing as bio weapons because their threat to public health may, "justify a state-sponsored research program, which may serve as a cover for a biological warfare program".

Terrorists have also utilized zoonotic agents as a means of weaponry. Although biological weapons are much more complicated and dangerous to deal with than typical terrorist bombs, the immense consequences that they are capable of producing make them appealing. Not until recently has the United States instituted programs to confront the growing threat of biological warfare. The response to such weapons includes advancements in the physical protection of soldiers against bio agents, monitoring research programs around the world, and participating in many large scale treaties. For more: Click Here

1 comment:

John Latto said...

Interesting subject. For a fascinating bit of history check out the story of Anton Dilger and his attempts to sabotage the US war efforts during WW1. Wikipedia is as good a place as any to start:
Biowarfare here in the USA - but Dilger's target was horses not people. This story reminds you how dependent we were on horses even during the first world war.