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Bioterrorism 

Bioterrorism
Chapter:
Bioterrorism
Author(s):

Manfred S. Green

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0212
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date: 02 March 2021

Bioterrorism is the deliberate use of biological agents to cause illness, death, and fear for ideological or personal purposes. The agents might be disseminated through aerosolization, food, human carriers, infected insects, or water. The incubation periods of these agents can vary from hours to weeks, with early symptoms mimicking many other infectious diseases. The diagnosis might not be suspected unless cases occur in clusters. Early identification of outbreaks will depend largely on the ability of primary care and emergency room physicians to identify and promptly report cases to the public health authorities. Specific treatment (if available) of affected individuals will depend on the pathogen, and for contagious diseases such as smallpox and plague, isolation of patients and their contacts, barrier nursing, quarantine, and restriction of the movements and social interactions of people are important control measures.

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