2556 Words11 Pages


Throughout time, the quest to dominate another is limited only to the imagination of one man poised against the other. From feces smeared arrows to poisonous snakes, from infected blankets to super bugs created in a lab. Sometimes common flu symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and shortness of breath are the first signs of bioterrorism. For some reason, the more we search for answers to counter the effects of bioterrorism the worse is gets. The road to detection is not a narrow path, but a wide-open journey.

Throughout history, warriors and terrorists have used a wide range of tactics and

techniques to help defeat their enemy on and off the battlefield. These weapons of war

have evolved from throwing rocks and sticks at each other to the unthinkable weapons of

mass destruction called bioterrorism. You may ask yourself, what is bioterrorism? The

Center for Disease Control defines bioterrorism as the intentional or threatened use of bacteria, fungi, or toxins from living organisms to produce death or disease in humans, animals, or plants and involves intimidation of nations or people to accomplish political or social ends. (CDC 2005) In ancient times, archers shot arrows at their enemies that were dipped in blood from dead and decomposing bodies, while others had the feces of animals smeared onto the tips to cause severe infection after entering the body. During sea battles, the great Hannibal would have venomous snakes thrown onto enemy ships causing enemy shipboard personnel to get bitten and die, further allowing Hannibal and his men to board the ships and gather the bounty. Numerous stories are in text about the dead bodies of contaminated victims that were catapulted over walls in an effort to regain or overtake whatever was inside those walls. Since no one wanted to touch the dead bodies that flew over the walls of a fort or city, the disease quickly spread to the people, ultimately, forcing them to surrender. Some historians believe this was the initial technique used to cause the plague epidemic that swept across Europe, killing over 25 million people. (Mayor 2003) Russian troops also thought the idea of using infected corpses was a good technique of war when they also used disease-ridden bodies of plague victims in order to take a city in Sweden. It has been said that the Spanish secret...

... middle of paper ...

...etection we can use before calling hundreds of unnecessary people to the scene of a Pillsbury frosting release.

Although advances in biotechnology and agent detection continue to increase, we must remain vigilant in our search to improve diagnostics and response activities. Like the former Secretary of Defense William Cohen once said on national television, “it is not if, but when”.


Center for Disease Control (CDC), Bioterrorism: An Overview. Retrieved February 12, 2005, from

Phillips, M. B., (n. d.) Bioterrorism: A Brief History, Retrieved February 12, 2005 from

Mayor, A. (2003) Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, Scorpion Bombs. Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World, Woodstock, New York, The Overland Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc.

Harris, S. H. (2002) Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932 – 1945 and the American Cover-up, Great Britain, Routledge

Mauroni, A. (2003) Chemical and Biological Warfare, A Reference Handbook, (1st ed.) Library of Congress

More about Bioterrorism

Open Document