Anthrax as a chemical weapon - How is Australia preparing for a deliberate release of Anthrax? What is Anthrax? What does preparation against Anthrax attacks involve? How dangerous in Anthrax?

Essay by TaniaSmartTwitJunior High, 9th gradeA, April 2003

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How is Australia preparing for a deliberate release of anthrax?

[By Nathania Burrie]

[User: TaniaSmartTwit]

[November 2001]

The Australian health system's level of preparedness for a biological attack has been greatly increased over the past five to 10 years and was particularly increased in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Preparation measures include:

·Training within health departments and with other agencies;

·Putting in place medical treatment protocols suitable for a civilian population;

·Ensuring the availability of appropriate pharmaceutical supplies;

·Increasing diagnostic and health surveillance capability;

·Developing effective coordination and advisory arrangements;

·Ensuring access to international developments.

Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions where it occurs in animals. These include South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. When anthrax affects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products.

Intestinal anthrax results in death in 25% to 60% of cases.

There are no reports of the disease spreading from human to human. Direct person-to-person spread of anthrax most likely does not occur.

Usually penicillin is preferred for the treatment of Anthrax, but erythromycin, tetracycline, or chloramphenicol can also be used.

In countries where anthrax is common and vaccination levels of animal herds is low, humans should avoid contact with livestock and animal products, and avoid eating meat that has not been properly slaughtered and cooked. For high-risk occupations, such as those exposed to potentially contaminated animal hair, wool or hides, vaccination is recommended. An anthrax vaccine has been licensed for use in humans. The vaccine is reported to be 93% effective in protecting against cutaneous anthrax.

Planning for Response to bioterrorism Threats is taking place and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating all threats.

[By Nathania Burrie]

[User: TaniaSmartTwit]