The Anthrax Threat

778 Words4 Pages
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 =========== 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.

More about The Anthrax Threat

Open Document