- Defined as naturally occurring organisms or toxins that are purified and prepared for mass dissemination with the intent of causing mass morbidity, mortality, and social disruption
- Organisms include bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- Over 400 potential or actualized etiologic agents capable of being used as biologic weapon:
- Characterized by their relatively low cost compared with other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), high potency, and their ability to be delivered in a stealthy manner
- Stealth quality of biologic weapons comes from organism's natural incubation period
- Easy to conceal and difficult to detect:
- Agents often invisible to naked eye, odorless, and tasteless
- Patients typically present to various health care facilities with host of common complaints, adding to delay in recognition of covert release of biologic weapon
- Victims of biologic warfare agents are exposed either via direct cutaneous contact with agent, respiratory inhalation of aerosolized agent, or via GI tract after poisoning of food or water source
- Anthrax: Bacillus anthracis
- Plague: Yersinia pestis
- Cholera: Infection from Vibrio cholerae:
- Presents with severe GI symptoms and rapidly leads to profound dehydration
- Tularemia: Francisella tularensis
- Brucellosis: Organism in the Brucella genus
- Q fever: Coxiella burnetii
- Smallpox: Variola virus
- Viral encephalitides: Members of Alphavirus genus (Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, and Western equine encephalitis)
- Viral hemorrhagic fevers: From 4 families of viruses, include illnesses such as Ebola, Hantavirus, Marburg, Lassa, and dengue fever
- Staphylococcal enterotoxin B
- Botulinum toxin
There's more to see -- the rest of this topic is available only to subscribers.
Schaider, Jeffrey J., et al., editors. "Biologic Weapons." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307204/all/Biologic_Weapons.
Biologic Weapons. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307204/all/Biologic_Weapons. Accessed June 4, 2023.
Biologic Weapons. (2016). In Schaider, J. J., Barkin, R. M., Hayden, S. R., Wolfe, R. E., Barkin, A. Z., Shayne, P., & Rosen, P. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult (5th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307204/all/Biologic_Weapons
Biologic Weapons [Internet]. In: Schaider JJJ, Barkin RMR, Hayden SRS, Wolfe RER, Barkin AZA, Shayne PP, Rosen PP, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2023 June 04]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307204/all/Biologic_Weapons.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Biologic Weapons ID - 307204 ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307204/all/Biologic_Weapons PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -