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Bioterrorism Information

By wiredog in MLP
Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 04:07:21 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)

There have, of late, been many questions raised about the possibility of bioterrorism attacks against the USA. The questions are: What is the real risk? What would we be attacked with? How bad would such an attack be? What would the effects on civil liberties be?

I have put together a collection of links to information, both in books, and from the CDC and Johns Hopkins University. I chose the books because I have read and liked them. They are well written, by people who know what they are writing about. I listed the CDC and Johns Hopkins links because they are comprehensive and trusted sources for information.

Living Terrors
by Michael T. Osterholm Ph.D., former Minnesota State Epidemiologist, and John Schwartz, a science reporter for The Washington Post.
It lays out scenarios for anthrax and smallpox, some history of biowar, and why the public health system needs to be restored. Small book, with lots of information, the scenarios cover how the agent is released, how many people it affects, and how government and society react.

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
by Randy Shilts
A chronicle of the first 5 years of the AIDS epidemic. Excellently written, not for the weak of stomach, a must read.

The Coming Plague
by Laurie Garrett
It covers emerging and re-emerging diseases such as HIV, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Smallpox. It gives the symptoms of the diseases, how they spread, and how deadly they are. It also goes into the history of the diseases and how the epidemiologists track and fight them. Thick, heavy book, with tremendous amounts of information, a comprehensive notes section at the end.

Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health
by Laurie Garrett, Steven M. Wolinsky (Preface)
How the public health system, in USA and abroad, was allowed to disintegrate.

I've also found some excellent online links for bioterrorism information.
A good place to start is The Specter of Biological Weapons from the Dec 1996 Scientific American.

Johns Hopkins University is one of the premier research universities in the world. Their Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies , has links to the "Dark Winter" wargame, which simulated a smallpox attack on US, and which was run in June 2001. It's a very scary read.

The Centers for Disease Control has reports (Part one, and Part Two) on a smallpox attack scenario (previous K5 article).

There is also a bioterrorism section at the CDC: Check out the smallpox page and a report on modeling attacks.


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Related Links
o Living Terrors
o And the Band Played On
o The Coming Plague
o Betrayal of Trust
o The Specter of Biological Weapons
o Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies
o Part one
o Part Two
o K5 article
o bioterrori sm section
o smallpox page
o modeling attacks.
o Also by wiredog

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Bioterrorism Information | 8 comments (7 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
And the best one I`ve read... (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by pallex on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 11:17:33 AM EST

"A higher form of killing" - by Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman (yes, that one!)




Contains a quote which predicted that a virus like AIDS would be created in 10 years time (10 years before the first AIDS cases starting turning up, suprisingly enough...)

"The Coming Plague" (3.50 / 2) (#2)
by rusty on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 01:07:56 PM EST

"The Coming Plague" scared the hell out of me. In fact, I think it was the last epidemiology book I read, because it was so utterly terrifying.

The question, it seems, is not "if" but "when, and from who?" Even if its not terrorism, enough of this stuff is lurking out there to make the Black Plague look like child's play. Only 1/3rd of Europe? Airborne ebola would probably nab 50-80% of the civilized world.

Not the real rusty

Want more fun? (3.50 / 2) (#3)
by wiredog on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 01:36:32 PM EST

Read up on the lack of slack in hospital bed space, and then consider that we are way overdue for a flu pandemic. Imagine CNN carrying live pictures of people dying in the streets because there aren't any hospital beds. Almost happened last winter in some US cities.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

You'll love this (4.50 / 2) (#4)
by Fenian on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:02:07 PM EST

Here's a link I posted in the previous smallpox article. I think it's something everybody who is interested in the possibility of a bioterror event should read. It is specific to smallpox, but smallpox is the greatest bioterror threat there is anyway.

The author of that piece (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by wiredog on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:48:33 PM EST

Is the guy who wrote "The Hot Zone", about the Ebola outbreak in Reston, where I now live.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

See also... (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by maveness on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 02:05:52 PM EST

Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox, published just this month, by Jonathan Tucker.

Tucker (disclaimer = I've met him, and he strikes me as highly knowledgeable and reasonable) also points out that smallpox has in the past -- crudely -- been used as a weapon, namely in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars here in America.

Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.

More information on disease/virus origin. (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by Ignis on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 03:38:30 PM EST

The book Emerging Viruses - Aids and Ebola tends to be slightly on the far-fetched side of things at times--particularly on the subject of the subject of CIA involvement in the testing and deployment of emerging viruses--but it's a ripping good read nonetheless.

A chapter-by-chapter summary of the book can be found at:
The book itself can be purchased here:

Bioterrorism Information | 8 comments (7 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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