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Usage of Plague as a Biological Weapon

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Usage of Plague as a Biological Weapon

Bioterrorism is defined as the intentional use of dangerous microorganisms or viruses to kill a large population of people. Common examples of biological agents include anthrax, botulism, smallpox, and the plague. The most common form is the bubonic plague that caused the deaths of a large percentage of the population in Europe during the Middle Ages. The bacterium, Yersinia pestis, causes three forms of the plague; however the pneumonic plague is used in bioterrorism because of its advantages in transmission and production. To be infected with the pneumonic plague, a person simply needs to breathe in enough of the aerosolized bacteria to allow them to incubate inside the body. Symptoms usually appear two to four days afterward and treatment consists of antibiotics and hospitalization. Death occurs if an infected person does not receive medical aid within 48 hours of symptom appearance. Its advantages as a pathogen make the plague an impending biological weapon.

The halls are empty and dark. The clock on the lounge wall reads 2:34 AM and a few nurses finish their routine patient checks at the General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The slight humming and beeps from the machines are the only sounds heard in the hospital as the last nurse quietly returns to her office. Unknown to the staff and patients, a terrorist attack has been launched within the building. There are no alarms, warnings, or signs that signal that anything has happened. From the outside, it would seem as if it was simply another night at the hospital. Yet, millions of aerosolized bacteria have been released into the air through the air conditioning system, causing every room with an air conditioning vent to explode wit...

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