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Humans are highly susceptible to microbial infections that come from diverse sources. Infectious diseases have been recognized for their probable impact on people as well as armies as early as 600 BC. The crude utilization of filth as well as cadavers, contagion and animal carcasses had devastating impacts and additionally weakened the enemy. Pollution of wells along with the other sources of water of the opposing armies was a common strategy that was employed by many European wars, especially during the American civil war and also into the 20th century. The military leaders in the middle ages realized that victims of the infectious diseases could become weapons against the enemies themselves (Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011). In the sieges of Caffa, which is a well fortified Genoese managed seaport, the attacking army, Tartar force experienced an epidemic of plague that they converted into an opportunity by hurling the cadavers of the deceased into the city, weakening them by starting a plague epidemic.
Another disease that has been used as a weapon of mass destruction is in the new world is smallpox whereby the South American natives contaminated clothing in the 15th century with variola. During the French Indian American war, the commander of the British forces in North America suggested that they use smallpox in diminishing the native Indian population that was hostile to the British. There is substantial evidence of the use of biological agents in the First World War by German (Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011).The program allegedly encompassed the Germans trying to ship cattle and horses that had been inoculated with disease-producing bacteria as anthrax and glanders to the USA as well as other countries.
In the 1710, the Russian troops used plague-infested corpses against the Swedes. In 1939, the Nomonhan incident involved the Japanese poisoning the Soviet water supply via the use of the intestinal typhoid bacteria at the former Mongolia border (Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011). In the year 1978, which involves a Soviet state-sponsored assassination, the Bulgarian exile George Markov, who was living in London, was stabbed with an umbrella that injected him with a tiny pellet that contained the resin (Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011).
The use of genetic engineering has made it possible for biological researchers to develop new weapons that have more effectiveness compared to their natural counterparts. The manufacture of biological weapons is attained via genetically modifying bacterias as well as viruses to withstand antibiotics, with the common models currently being rickettsiae, bacteria, toxins, viruses as well as fungi. Compared to the nuclear weapon programs, biological weapons are considerably cheap to manufacture (Books, LLC, 2011). The purified form of botulinum is roughly three million times more potent compared to sarin, which is a chemical nerve agent.
The spread of biological weapons can be attained in different ways, which can include via the air by aero spray, in that the effectiveness of the biological weapon is dependent on the germs being dispersed as fine particles. The use of explosives is additionally the other strategy used in spreading although the use of an explosive device in delivering and spreading the biological agent is not as effective as the aerosol method. The reason, in this case, is that the agents are destroyed by the blast, which typically leaves less than 5% of the agent with the capability to cause the disease (Books, LLC, 2011). Putting in water or food is the additional strategy although the contamination of a city’s water supplies demands an unrealistically huge amount of the agent along with the introduction into the water after it has passed the regional treatment facility. Absorption through the skin is the additional strategy that is ideal for assassinations although the method is not likely to be used in causing mass casualties.
The common signs and symptoms of contagion include swelling, bleeding as well as tissue death on the site of the infection. Additional signs include fever, chest pains, cough with mucopurulent sputum and hemoptysis. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, as well as pharyngitis, are the additional symptoms and signs of biological agents (Books, LLC, 2011). The most probable case that warrants the use of biological weapons is on those occasions a country is trying to deter another country from the use of biological weapons. It follows that the best countermeasure a country can use to prevent an attack by an opposing country is via the threat that they are going to use their biological weapons if attacked, thus serving as a deterrent measure.
The best strategies that can be applied in preparing the public for biological attacks is via ensuring that they are well trained in the preparations as well as prevention techniques should such an attack occur. Additionally, the public needs to make aware of the detection and surveillance strategies that they should employ in dealing with the incidents. The diagnosis, as well as characterization procedure of the biological and chemical agents, is additionally a source of information that the public should be made aware (Books, LLC, 2011). The response and communication techniques are the additional areas of training that the public should get access to as a means of preparing for such an attack.
The most recent attack that involved the use of a biological hazard is that of the use of chlorine as an agent by the Islamic state militants against the Kurdish soldiers leading to 30 injured soldiers.
Books, LLC. (2011). Biological Warfare: Weapon of Mass Destruction, Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst, Aids Origins Opposed to Scientific Consensus, Bioterrorism. General Books LLC
Britannica Educational Publishing, (2011). Weapons of Mass Destruction. Britannica Educational Publishing