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By William R. Clark

Considering that September eleventh, the specter of a bioterrorist attack--massive, deadly, and unpreventable--has hung within the air over the United States. Bracing for Armageddon? deals a vividly written primer for the overall reader, laying off gentle at the technology in the back of capability bioterrorist assaults and revealing what may well occur, what's prone to occur, and what most likely won't ensue. the tale opens with a riveting account of a bioterrorism situation commissioned through the U.S. govt. utilizing this doomsday tableau as a springboard, Clark stories a number of bioterrorist threats (from agroterrorism to a poisoning of the water provide) and examines not just the worst-case risk of genetically engineered pathogens, but in addition the deadly brokers at the CDC's respectable bioterrorism record, together with Smallpox, Anthrax, Plague, Botulism, and Ebola. His evaluation of tried bioterrorist assaults to date--such because the failed Aum Shinrikyo makes an attempt in 1995 in Japan and the Anthrax assault within the US following 9/11--bolstered via interviews with various experts--shows why nearly all of those makes an attempt have failed. certainly, he demonstrates profitable bioterrorism assault is particularly not likely, whereas an incredible flu epidemic (such because the lethal epidemic of 1918 that killed hundreds of thousands all over the world) is a digital sure bet. Given the lengthy odds of a bioterrorist assault, Clark asks, has the greater than $40 billion the us has devoted to the safety opposed to bioterrorism quite been good spent? Is it time to maneuver directly to different priorities? unlike the alarmist fears stoked via the preferred media, William Clark the following offers a reassuring evaluate of what we actually have to fear about--and what we do not.

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Extra info for Bracing for Armageddon?: The Science and Politics of Bioterrorism in America

Example text

However, with the exception of Japan during its occupation of China and Manchuria, there was no extensive use of biological agents against either military or civilian targets during World War II, although the Allies seriously discussed carrying out several such attacks against Germany. In the United States the War Department (precursor of today’s Department of Defense) established a special biological warfare facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland. S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, although it no longer develops biological weapons, focusing instead on defense against such weapons, among other activities.

Pestis can also jump from animal fleas into fleas feeding on humans, which greatly aids human-human spread of the disease. In the Middle Ages, most people had fleas in abundance. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s and ’50s, fatality rates of 50 percent or more were not uncommon. A few days after infection, the typical symptoms of a microbial infection set in: fever, chills, and general achiness, by-products of activation of the immune system. As the bacteria continue to replicate inside regional lymph nodes, the nodes become greatly enlarged (called buboes) and very tender.

They could as easily blow back into the faces of the troops having to use them. 42 • B R ACI N G F O R A R M AG E D D O N? After an additional two years of domestic and international discussions, in April 1972 President Nixon signed an international agreement commonly referred to as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), slated to come into full effect in 1975. Eventually, over 150 countries would sign it. During this interim period, the United States began systematic destruction of existing stockpiles of biological weapons and converted its major research facility at Fort Detrick to studying ways to protect American military and civilian populations against biological weapons in the future.

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