Unlike chemical agents, which typically lead to violent disease syndromes within minutes at the site of exposure, diseases resulting from biological agents, such as anthrax, may have incubation periods lasting days. Therefore, rather than a paramedic, it will likely be a physician who is first faced with evidence of the result of a biological attack. Therefore, it is important to note that most doctors have never seen anthrax before and are likely to misdiagnose it initially.
In a 1970 World Health Organization (WHO) publication, it was estimated that 50 kg of aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores dispensed by airplane 2 km upwind of a population center of 500,000 unprotected people in ideal meteorological conditions would travel more than 20 km and kill or incapacitate up to 220,000 people, nearly half of those in the path of the biological cloud. Some argue that even less is needed, as in the video clip which suggests that it only takes two pounds of Anthrax to saturate New York City
The impact of the hostile use of anthrax or biological weapons in general on the health care system would be significant. Patients would present in unprecedented numbers, and demands for intensive care might overwhelm medical resources. Special medications or vaccines not generally available in standard pharmaceutical stocks potentially would be required. Although there has not been a documented case of patient to health care worker transmission of anthrax, it is likely that health care professionals and laboratory personnel might need added physical protection, and autopsy and interment of remains could present unusual hazards.
(Insert video clip of US Naval aerosol tests with aircraft spraying monkeys in barges with the following description: "US Navy aerosol test showing efficacy of aerolized anthrax")
Aerosol dispersal devices tend to have common characteristics. The technology used to aerosolize anthrax is simple, such as industrial sprayers with nozzle and energy source modified to generate the smallest particle size possible (preferably 1-10 um to penetrate into the distal bronchioles and terminal alveoli of the exposed). Such an aerosol could be delivered by the use of a line source, such as a plane or boat, travelling upwind of the intended target. Another method is a point source, such as a stationary sprayer or missile bomblets, containing anthrax (or other agents) in an area upwind of the target. When using aerosols, the meteorological conditions in the target area are very important because higher wind speeds and turbulence tend to break up the aerosol cloud.
(Insert photograph of fermenters next to the following paragraph with the following description: "Fermenters used in Iraq used to grow bio-warfare agents such as anthrax") AND
(Insert video clip from Kazakstan showing the fermenters next to the following paragraph)
Anthrax spores were weaponized by the U.S. in the 1950's and 1960's before the U.S. offensive program was terminated. Iraq admitted to a United Nations inspection team in August 1991 that it had conducted research on the offensive use of B. anthracis before the Gulf War and, in 1995, admitted to "weaponizing" anthrax. Other countries have been suspected of weaponizing anthrax spores. The deaths of at least 66 people after an accidental release of anthrax spores in the former Soviet Union (Sverdlovsk, 1979) proves the weapons potential of this agent.
(Insert video clip of Larry Wayne Harris and his explanation of how he would acquire anthrax [dig up the dead cows] next to the following paragraph)
We have all heard of the terrorist threat from the Middle East, but there are groups within the U.S. that could pose a terrorist threat and may use biological warfare as one of its tools. Some of these American extremists include but are not limited to the following