Gathering Biological Warfare Storm -- Chapter 3: Surveillance and Detection: A Public Health Response to Bioterrorism   [open pdf - 224KB]

Chapter 3 of "The Gathering Biological Warfare Storm" addresses surveillance and detection in the case of a bioterrist attack: "Perhaps the most frightening apparition of our times is the possibility that a biological agent (bacterium, virus, or toxin) will be used to attack our unprotected civilian population and inflict mass casualties. Until the Fall of 2001, anthrax attacks delivered through the mail to various U.S. senators, to the Governor of New York, and to various media offices, the previously expected use of a weapon of mass destruction against the United States has been a nuclear device that explodes or a chemical cloud that is set adrift. However, today, of all the weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological), the biological weapons are the most feared by many defense experts but these are the ones that our country is least prepared to deal with. Like the concept of a 'nuclear winter,' the potential destructiveness of a biological attack can come in many forms and is presently very hard to detect and control, and its results could be catastrophic. The unleashing of biological agents against an unprotected civilian population also, in some cases, constitutes the ultimate medical disaster with the capability to completely overwhelm the present health care system. Patients might go to health facilities in unprecedented numbers, and demands for intensive care could well exceed available medical resources. Discerning the threat of bioweapons and appropriate responses to them are critical if we are to prevent the devastating effects of bioterrorism."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
USAF Counterproliferation Center: http://www.au.af.mil/
Media Type:
Davis, Jim A. and Schneider, Barry (Eds). The Gathering Biological Warfare Storm. USAF Counterproliferation Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: April 2002, 2nd Edition, ch. 3
Help with citations