Diseases most likely to be considered for use as biological weapons are contenders because of their lethality and robustness.
The biological agents used in biological weapons can often be manufactured quickly and easily.
The primary difficulty is not the production of the biological agent but delivery in an effective form to a vulnerable target.
Bioweapons can cause the following:
Multiple medical problems
May also cause:
Societal breakdowns, food shortages, transportation issues, and looting
After a bioweapon attack you will be faced with the rule of 3's basic survival skills
Learn about the agent as soon as possible.
Wash you hands frequently
Exercise social distancing
Prepare for disruption of services
wear a respirator
protect your eyes
Wear medical gloves
Dispose of contaminated material properly
Learn about the agent being used
If exposed, get supportive medical care
Check to see if meds or vaccines are available
A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. These agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they could be changed to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment. Biological agents can be spread through the air, through water, or in food. Terrorists may use biological agents because they can be extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days. Some bioterrorism agents, like the smallpox virus, can be spread from person to person and some, like anthrax, can not. For information on which bioterrorism agents can be spread from person to person, please see the alphabetical list of bioterrorism agents.
Bioterrorism agents can be separated into three categories, depending on how easily they can be spread and the severity of illness or death they cause. Category A agents are considered the highest risk and Category C agents are those that are considered emerging threats for disease.
These high-priority agents include organisms or toxins that pose the highest risk to the public and national security because:
These agents are the second highest priority because:
These third highest priority agents include emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass spread in the future because:
You can look for the bioterrorism agent by name on the A-Z List of Bioterrorism Agents/Diseases.
The CDC and the American Red Cross have teamed up to answer questions and provide advice on steps you can take to prepare yourself and your loved ones in the event of a bioterrorist attack. For preparedness information and guidelines, please see Emergency Preparedness and You .
The Department of Homeland Security has established a website to provide information to the public about emergencies and emergency preparedness. For information on what to do in the event of a bioterrorist attack, please see Ready.gov.
NOTE: the following is a list of preparation and planning resources related specifically to bioterrorism. For resources relevant to preparation and planning for all types of emergencies, please see Emergency Preparedness and Response: Preparation and Planning.