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Biological Warfare

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Biological warfare has existed for centuries and is still existent in modern times. Over the past years, there has been an increase in biological warfare where, several persons gave died from the deliberate release of biological toxins, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When infectious agents are used as weapons the intent is to kill living organisms, whether it is humans, plants, or animal. However, humans are often times the main target. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (n.d), biological agents have the ability to adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild, allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, even death. These organisms are widespread in the natural environment; they are found in water, soil, plants, and animals. Because many microbes reproduce rapidly and require minimal resources for survival, they are a potential danger in a wide variety of occupational settings. Some examples of biological or infectious agents include anthrax, botulism, Ebola, blood borne, and food borne pathogens. When exposed to biological or infectious agents humans may present with immediate and long term effects. Immediate effects are the initial signs and symptoms that are manifested once the subject comes in contact with the biological agent. These clinical manifestations include fever, chest pain, cough, cold, allergic reactions, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abrupt onset of respiratory distress. However, some individuals may experience fatigue and shortness of breath for years (Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards, Department of Veterans Affairs, 2003). Long term effects can be medical, social, and psychological. Persons exposed to biological toxins may experience chronic medical diseases such as cancers and organ failure (for example, liver and kidney). One’s psychological status may be impaired as is usually seen in post traumatic stress disorder. From a social perspective, there are poor living conditions, contaminated food sources, and some families are even displaced. These problems are usually ongoing and have severe effects on generations. Due to susceptibility variables such as age and illnesses, morbidity and mortality rates also increase. Biological warfare also has a negative impact o the environment as it increases the incidence of pollution and contributes to an unhealthy living environment. Human, plant, and animal lives are destroyed and vital sources such water can become contaminated leading to an increase in infectious diseases. Therefore, in order to ensure quality of life and preserve the environment, the deliberate use of biological toxins and microorganisms as weapons must end.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (n.d), Biological Agents. Retrieved from

Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards, Department of Veterans Affairs (2003), Health effects from chemical, biological, and radiological weapons. Retrieved from

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