*Bio-Terrorism some basic information*
Part 1
By: Brian
19 August 2004

What is a biological agent?

A biological agent is a toxin that is the product of a living organism. They by design produce illness and or death one ingested or inhaled by the victim.

What biological agents are out there?


  1. Botulinum Toxin: This is the most poisonous substance known at this time.
    1. How does it affect a human? It prevents release of acetylcholine at presynaptic nerve terminal and blocks nerve transmission.
    2. How is it distributed? It can be spread through food or dispersed by aerosol.
    3. How long will the toxin survive in the air? 48 hours
    4. What are the symptoms?
      1. Aerosolized
        1. Generalized weakness
        2. Dizziness
        3. Dry mouth
        4. Dry throat
        5. Blurred vision
        6. Respiratory failure
      2. Food born
        1. Abdominal cramps
        2. Nausea
        3. Vomiting
        4. Diarrhea
    5. What is the decontamination procedure?
      1. Aerosolized release
        1. Wear mask or at minimum breath through clean cloth (t-shirt)
        2. Wash skin with 0.1% hypochlorite (bleach) or soapy water.
      2. Released by food source
        1. Cooking thoroughly
    6. Are there treatments for Botulinum? Yes and No. The Botulinum antitoxin will minimize the effects if taken as soon as symptoms appear, but it will not reverse the effects that are already showing.


  2. Ricin
    1. Where does Ricin come from? Ricin comes from the castor bean
    2. How does it affect humans? It inhibits protein synthesis, which results in the death of cells.
    3. How is Rican deployed? It can be spread by ingestion or aerosolized
    4. What are the symptoms?
      1. Weakness
      2. Fever
      3. Cough
      4. Nausea
      5. Vomiting
      6. Hypothermia
    5. How long after exposure do symptoms appear? Usually in 4 to 8 hours.
    6. What is the decontamination procedure? Wash area with either hypochlorite 0.5% solution, or soap and water.


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