The threat of biological warefare

Essay by piper0283College, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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It seems that every generation has special "buzzwords" for certain subjects. Not to be outdone in creativity by other generations, the buzzword for science in the 90's is "Biotechnology." Biotechnology is defined as "The study of the industrial production of goods and services by using biological organisms, systems, and processes" (Webster, 1968). Like any new technology there is a "good side" and a "bad side" to the technology. With regard to the good side: biotechnology has alleviated human suffering for the people that may have otherwise suffered or even died. As for the bad side: biotechnology creates ways in which human beings can actually cause human suffering. Human beings have a habit of overlooking the good and only seeing the bad. So it is easy to see biotechnology as causing terrible things; in fact biotechnology has many branches, one of which is the production of biological weapons. Biological warfare is the use of disease to harm or kill an adversary's military forces, population, food sources, and livestock (

Biological weapons have slowly evolved into a cheap and deadly way of exterminating human beings. The threat of bioterrorism to every country in the world has been increasing. As can be seen from the above: biological weapons are extremely dangerous and the threat of using them in war and peace is extremely menacing.

Biological weapons can be classified into 4 categories: viruses, bacteria, rickettsia, and genetically altered organisms. Viruses typically include Ebola, Hanta virus, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE). All three of these viruses can be fatal. Bacterial weapons include: vibrio cholera (which can cause gastroenteritis); Yersinisa pestis (which causes lung fever); and Bacillus anthracis (also known as anthrax). All of these agents can also be fatal. Rickettsial organisms are intracellular parasites that attach to humans cells. Some that may be used...