Bioterrorism and Plague

Powerful Essays
Bioterrorism and Plague

Plague, also known as Yesirnia pestis, has wreaked havoc since the first documented outbreak in the 6th century, along with changing the course of history. Although bubonic plague is the most common form of plague, pneumonic plague is the more fatal form of the bacteria. It is the only form that has been successfully aerosolized by man and has the potential of taking down a mass of people in days. If used as a bioweapon, it would cause major damage. This paper is designed to inform you of the history, the facts, and the precautions needed to prevent a bioterrorist attack. In 1970, The World Health Organization estimated that 50 kg, or 110 lb, of Y. pestis sprayed over a city would infect 150,000 individuals and kill about 40,000 (Grey, p.218).

Throughout history, there have been plague epidemics that have killed thousands of people. From the Athenian plague starting in 430 B.C. to the famous Black Death in 1346, people from all over the world have been caught in chaos with insufficient treatments and no reliable way of preventing this horrible disease from spreading. Today, vast medical advancements have yielded successful treatments for the plague, but people are still highly susceptible to widespread disaster if a bioterrorist attack does manage to occur.

In 430-26 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War, which was fought between Sparta and Athens, overcrowded conditions in the cities allowed plague to spread quickly. It claimed tens of thousands of victims including Pericles, the former leader of Athens. We know of this outbreak because of the last remaining source: Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War (Smith, p. 1). Having been through the plague himself, Thucydides described the symptoms w...

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