Using Clostridium botulinum as a Biological Weapon

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Fatal Dilemma: Using Clostridium botulinum as a Biological Weapon

Ever since the dawn of biotechnology, the world had to face a new dilemma: bioterrorism. Using biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc., bioterrorism attack aims to cause illness of death in people, animals, or plants as a method of warfare. Used throughout history, biological weapon serves as a pivotal role in disarming an army.

Botulism toxin, known for the most toxic substance in the biological world, has been used throughout history as a biological weapon. The bacteria Clostridium botulinum causes botulism causes botulism disease, which is a serious paralytic illness that strikes all age groups. The clinical forms of botulism include foodborne botulism, infant botulism, and wound botulism. Botulism, if left untreated, is fatal; however, even treatment with antiserum can not provide full recovery.

Botulism is rare a disease. Therefore, if anyone is diagnosed with foodborne botulism, investigation of food supply must be carried out promptly; for investigation of the botulism-diagnosed-individual's surrounding is the only method of detecting a potential bioterrorism attack.

With the continuous advancements in biomedicine follows a continuous proliferation of bioterrorism, which uses biological agents for malicious purposes (Anderson 2). More specifically, bioterrorism is a method of terrorism that intentionally releases or disseminates biological weapons that may be in natural occurring or human-modified form (Botulism- Definition). Although bioterrorism is considered as a recent dilemma, the use of biological weapon predates recorded history, during the ancient times where biological toxins were extracted from plants and animals and ap...

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