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The Anthrax Threat

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The Anthrax Threat

Today's US military personnel around the world face a new threat:

Biological weapons. To protect the US troops against Biological

weapons; the Department of Defense implemented a mandatory vaccination

program against anthrax. This was justified to counter an increasing

threat from hostile countries and possible terrorist groups that now

or in the future will likely possess the capability of fielding

weaponized anthrax spores as a Biological Weapon. This decision has

resulted in court-martials and disciplinary hearings among U.S. Armed

Forces personnel who have refused the anthrax vaccine on safety

grounds. Are these individuals overreacting to misperceived risks from

the anthrax vaccine that the military considers safe, or are there

real safety concerns that should be considered?

"Anthrax is a rare, infectious disease that is transmitted to humans

most commonly by farm animals. The disease is caused by the bacterium

bacillus anthracis. Anthrax may also be spread through the inhalation

of bacterium spores. If not properly treated, the disease may be

fatal"(webmd). "Anthrax is the preferred biological warfare agent

because is highly lethal, inhalational anthrax is virtually always

fatal, the low cost of the anthrax material facilitates massive

production, it is easy to weaponize, it can be stored almost

indefinitely as a dry powder, and it is difficult to detect"(defense).

More than 10 countries have, or are developing, a biological warfare

capability. Production of biological warfare agents does not require

specialized equipment or advanced technology. Many of the materials

and equipment that are used to pro...

... middle of paper ...

.... Obviously, this strategy requires advance

knowledge of the threat and careful long-term preparation against the

threat. To prepare for any new threat that arises will require some

time, possibly years or over a decade. Recent reports have appeared

indicating that the Russians have developed anthrax strains for which

it is claimed protective vaccines do not exist. What is the evidence

that our 'multivalent' Bacillus anthracis vaccine will protect against

all known anthrax strains?

Works Cited

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Anthrax. 31 Mar. 2000

http://webmd.lycos.com/content/dmk/dmk_article1456571.

Anthrax as a biological warfare agent. 31 Mar. 2000

http://www.defenselink.mil/other_infoagent.html.

Garamone, Jim. Confusion causes anthrax flap. 31 Mar. 2000

http://www.cpf.navy.mil/anthrax/9907anthraxconfusion.html.
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