We Must All Prepare For Biological Warfare

  1. I feel this threat is a real one and we and all healthcare workers should be prepared to deal with this if neccesary. I have been trying to find websites with info, especially signs and symptoms, how we protect ourselves, ect,so far the only info is that incubation period can range from several hours to a few weeks, depending on the microbe and dosage. I was very near to the Trade Center, it was visible from our hospital window, (what a tragic horror,many people are missing from my area )someone said a few words were mentioned about the use of biological war fare, then hushed, (on TV), thats when it hit me, I didnt really know much about this real threat.We need to prepare ourselves for whatever may come, if someone can do what those B%$#@!*&* got away with, then who knows what may come next. If anyone finds info, please post, and please make others aware of this possibilty. Lets all educate ourselves and prepare!
  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   misti_z
    I don't really have any information about your post.


    I have not heard any reports to back this up, but a nurse mentioned at work last night that she heard one target for the terrorist was Atlanta. Atlanta is a busy city--nothing like NY--but it also houses the CDC.............SCARY
  4. by   rearickt
    This is a very important topic. Thank you for raising awareness.
    There are definite steps tht you can take to work within your facility and community to prepare.
    Talk to your Safety Manager/Committee regarding Emegency Preparedness and Bioterrorism. Your facility may already have a Bioterrorism Plan in place or in development
    Ask to get involved if you are sincerely interested; the more informed on the subject and the more knowledgeable of the various biological agents of concern the better
    The CDC and APIC have developed a draft Plan for use at the CDC website www.cdc.gov
    Curent dieases of concern include:
    Smallpox, however, any biological agent can cause a lot of problems in a community
    Also check out the Emerging Infectious Diseases information at the CDC
    Avoid panic and be informed.

    God bless all of those who care for others in our life's calling
  5. by   kennedyj
    Bio warfare is only one type. The bad thing is that you can not detect it until its been around a while. Then its too late.

    Others are various nerve and blister agents in which a coke size could harm up to probably 50,000 casualties.

    I do agree this would be a real threat
  6. by   Chellyse66
    Here is an excellent resource entitled:




    I plan on printing out a copy and reading extensively. Here is an excerpt, written by Larry Harris a registered microbiologist:


    1. The types of biological agents and their effects.

    2. How biological agents can be detected.

    3. How to use their protective equipment.

    4. How to care for their protective equipment.

    5. How to perform first aid.

    6.. How to remove biological agents from themselves and their equipment. As a North American, you must master the six objectives listed above. Learning these objectives now will make the next chapters easier to read and understand. When you have mastered the six objectives fisted, the payoff will justify your efforts. You and your community will then be prepared to perform your jobs against an enemy using biological and chemical agents. Such preparedness results when training, knowledge, confidence, and courage replace fear and panic.


    1. Boiling at least 15 minutes.

    2. Water purification tablets.

    3. Soap, scrubbing.

    4. Sunning your clothes on a line.

    5. Cooking. Good defenses against biological agents.

    Biological agents cannot be detected by your five senses or by chemical detectors. Their presence can be confirmed only by laboratory examination. Furthermore, biological agents do not produce immediate effects. The time between exposure to an agent and the beginning of disease symptoms (known as the incubation period) can vary from a few hours to several days, depending upon the agent used. Men exposed to equal amounts of an agent will react differently. Some may escape disease entirely, others may have very mild attacks, while others may become seriously ill.


    Most biological agents in aerosol form get into the body...

  7. by   Mijourney
    Hi. So am I to assume that we, meaning the USA, should expect another attack on our country? Didn't a bioterror attack occur in a subway some years ago with mustard gas? Was it in Japan? Can anyone elaborate on this and what was the aftermath? With our open society and our free market, do you think it will be possible to ward off another large scale terroist attack?
  8. by   Chellyse66
    The attack occurred in Tokyo in March 1995, the lethal weapon was Sarin gas released into the subway. More than 5000 people were injured. Here is a good article discussing the events and the future potential chemical and biological attacks. This is from the Canadian intelligiance service:

  9. by   LA-NJRN
    Thank you all for your input. Tomorrow when I go into to work I will definetly contact our Safety manager/commitee, what a great suggestion! The CDC web site didnt help me much, but I will follow all other links posted for info. Some may feel this is silly, but I truly believe it is not, and knowledge may be the only way to get through such an attack, ignorance is not bliss in this case for sure!!!
  10. by   Chellyse66
    From the associated press:

    CUYAHOGA FALLS-A doctor is offering prescriptions for antibiotics against possible biological terrorist attacks, despite warnings from medical officials that the drugs may be misused.

    Dr. Hugh McLaughlin is giving his patients a chance to pick up ciprofloxacin, which was approved by the Federal Drug Administration last year to treat people exposed to anthrax, a bacteria of increasing concern as a possible terrorist weapon.

    Medical officials say they know of no other doctor who has started a similar pre-emptive prescription program for Cipro. Anthrax is relatively easy to manufacture and when inhaled can cause death within a few days.

    "To me this is like a bee-sting kit," McLaughlin said. "You have one or two in your pocket and a little more at home."

    In the event of a terrorist attack with anthrax, people would already have the antibiotics they need, and would not need to rush to the hospitals, he said.

    "I did just a random survey of pharmacies in Akron and they have only enough (Cipro) for six doses at any one time," McLaughlin said.

    But health officials said McLaughlin's civil defense program may do more harm than good.

    In a statement Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health said "prescribing antibiotics in advance of any perceived biological terrorism attack fosters the misuse of antibiotics and may create an unwarranted sense of panic. It is not advised."

    The statement was signed by an array of state and local health officials, including the Summit County Department of Health, which covers Cuyahoga Falls.

    Dr. Jonathan Temte, who has studied emergency responses to terrorism through the American Academy of Family Physicians, said McLaughlin's prescriptions could make it harder for officials to respond to an attack elsewhere.

    FDA guidelines recommend treating anthrax exposure with two doses of Cipro a day for 60 days, Temte said.

    "If you want everybody in your practice to stock up just in case, we may not have the surpluses available to react if there really is a problem somewhere else," he said.

    Rob Kloppenburg, a spokesman for Bayer Corp., which manufactures Cipro, said the company is working with the government to develop an emergency Cipro stockpile.

    McLaughlin said he is prescribing 10-day courses of antibiotics, which cost about $100. He began offering prescriptions Tuesday and had issued more than 50 by midday Wednesday.

    The Cipro doses would only be useful against anthrax, and not against other potential biological agents, said Thomas Inglesby, senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies. McLaughlin's antibiotics may leave people with the mistaken impression that they are protected against any biological agent, he said.

    "Is it possible in the future that people would have their own response kits? I suppose it's theoretically possible," Inglesby said. "But that's not the world we're in now."

    McLaughlin said he decided to issue the prescriptions in part because he was given no other direction or advice from state officials about how to identify or respond to an anthrax outbreak.

    Temte admitted state and federal public health officials need to do more to deliver information to private physicians.

    "This serves as a wake-up call," Temte said. "We have very good systems of surveillance and disease detection, but unless that information is transmitted to the people who are out there actually dealing with patients, it doesn't help."
  11. by   Chellyse66
    Here are some links associated with the ap wire post above, I have not followed them but thought I would share them anyway:

    FDA approving drug for Anthrax::: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1728.59870

    Dosage and effects::: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/3185.606

    Generic info from manufacturer::: http://infections.bayer.com/treatmen...probay_en.html

    Drugstore on line::: http://www.1drugstore-online.com/sea...=ciprofloxacin
  12. by   ClariceS
    My avatar aside, I love my adopted country.

    Our health dept put out a general alert on Wednesday asking healthcare workers just to be on the lookout for unusual disease processes or sudden outbreaks and to report any of these. They said they had received an alert from the CDC to be on the lookout for possible biological terrorist activity.
    I think, like increased security at airports, it is something we may just have to deal with. Best be prepared and educated beforehand than caught unawares and completely unprepared.

    In my opinion, "bee sting kits" of antibiotics are not a good idea. We have had so much misuse of antibiotics and the resulting resistance that we don't need to tempt more of that.
  13. by   LoisJean
    Clarice; thank you for your post. As a private home care agency owner, I have accessed all the appropriate CDC information regarding bio-warfare agents and have printed out the info pertinent to home teaching. I am continuing to find more. This information will be used as handouts if and when the time comes-pray it does not. When my business partner contacted our local Health Department for informational handouts, they couldn't help her, "at this time".

    Personally, I think that the old military adage to, 'prepare for the worst and hope for the best', is appropriate here. All nurses working in any public sector ought to be knowledgeable and prepared.

    I am not a fatalist. However, I do believe that it is not out of the realm of possiblility that terrorist factions may be so deeply imbeded in our respective States and allied Countries that once the first our of hits is made upon them, they could easily hit us back....and bio-agents would be the easiest of retributions.

    Especially those nurses working in the community health systems: we need to know what to do if the time comes...we could realize massive quarentines.
  14. by   Chellyse66
    I most certainly agree that as the old adage says "Knowledge is Power" but I also think we should look at the supply and demand issue. Our pharmacuetical companies should be prepared if such a scenario were to become reality. I agree there has been a overusage of antibiotics, I am not an advocate for taking these antibiotics now, just for having them available to the populace at large. Just my opinion...
    Last edit by Chellyse66 on Sep 25, '01