Clostridium Botulinum A Biological Weapon Biology Essay

Ever since the morning of biotechnology, the universe had to confront a new quandary: biological terrorism. Using biological agents such as bacteriums, viruses, Fungis, etc. , biological terrorism onslaught aims to do unwellness of decease in people, animate beings, or workss as a method of warfare. Used throughout history, biological arm serves as a polar function in demilitarizing an ground forces.

Botulism toxin, known for the most toxic substance in the biological universe, has been used throughout history as a biological arm. The bacterium Clostridium Botulinum causes botulism disease, which is a serious paralytic unwellness that strikes all age groups. The clinical signifiers of botulism include food-borne botulism, infant botulism, and wound botulism. Botulism, if left untreated, is fatal ; nevertheless, even intervention with antiserum can non supply full recovery.

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Botulism is rare a disease. Therefore, if anyone is diagnosed with food-borne botulism, probe of nutrient supply must be carried out quickly ; for probe of the botulism-diagnosed-individual ‘s surrounding is the lone method of observing a possible biological terrorism onslaught.

With the uninterrupted promotions in biomedicine follows a uninterrupted proliferation of biological terrorism, which uses biological agents for malicious intents ( Anderson, 2 ) . More specifically, biological terrorism is a method of terrorist act that deliberately releases or disseminates biological arms that may be in natural occurring or human-modified signifier ( Botulism- Definition ) . Although biological terrorism is considered a recent quandary, the usage of biological arm predates recorded history, during the antediluvian times where biological toxins were extracted from workss and animate beings and applied on darts and pointers to kill human enemies. Evidence of biological terrorism was besides apparent during the Medieval Wars, the earliest times of recorded history. The dead organic structures that carried extremely contagious diseases, such as variola and bubonic pestilence, were catapulted into besieged towns, where they rapidly spread to civilians within the town walls ( Hurlbert, 4 ) .

Use of biological arm reached its tallness during the nineteenth century universe wars, as agents were used in all condemnable, terrorist, or state-sponsored events ( Anderson, 20 ) . Sprouted from the universe wars, biological research plans for both violative and defensive schemes have been developed by the United States, Britain, the former Soviet Union, Canada, and several other states ( Fong, 7 ) . However, attending has non been focused on the possible menaces of biological warfare and biological terrorism until the terrorist onslaught on September 11th, 2001 and the splenic fever crisis in Florida and New York City ( Fong, 7 ) . Throughout history, biological warfare has played a important function, as biological arms, intentionally or unwittingly, in restricted and assisted ground forcess over the centuries.

Advantages of biological arms are that they are effectual in distributing the disease, extremely toxic, cheap, and cultivated in a short period of clip. Due to the damaging effects of biological arm, the ground forces faced with these arms would be easy disarmed. However, biological arms prove hard to hive away and present without accidentally let go ofing them ( Hurlbert, 6 ) . Therefore, guiltless workers and civilians are vulnerable to be contaminated by the biological arm being cultured.

When successfully grown, these civilized biological agents are released to do unwellness or decease in people, animate beings, or workss. These agents may be viruses, bacteriums, or other sources that are typically found in nature, but are normally altered to increase ability to do disease and drug-resistant ( CDC, 1 ) . Bioterrorism agents are separated into three classs: Cat-A, Cat-B, and Cat-C, depending on their toxic and precedence degrees. Category-A agents pose highest hazard to the populace and national security due to their easy transmittal, high decease rates, pubic terror, and particular public wellness readiness ( Knobler, 276 ) . Category-B agents exhibits less terrible standards than that of category-A ; and category-C agents include pathogens that can distribute and bring forth easy ( Knobler, 227 ) . In footings of human death, category-C agents bring on disabling symptoms, but non deadly.

A category-A agent, Clostridium botulinus bacteriums produce nervus toxins that cause serious paralytic unwellness called botulism, besides known as & A ; acirc ; ˆ?botox & A ; acirc ; ˆA? ( CDC,1 ) . Clostridium botulinus are straight to somewhat curved, gram positive, bacillar, with egg-shaped, sub-terminal spores ( Shapiro, 5 ) . There are seven types of Clostridium botulinus that are distinguished by the antigenic features of the neurolysins they produce. Human botulism is caused by strains of Clostridium botulinus that produce toxin types A, B, E and seldom F. Type C and D are about entirely confined to animate beings ( Fong, 194 ) .

There are three chief types of botulism: food-borne botulism, infant botulism, and wound botulism ( Fong, 144 ) . Food-borne botulism occurs when a individual ingests pre-formed toxin that leads to illness within a few hours to yearss. Infant botulism occurs in susceptible babies who harbor Clostridium botulinus in their enteric piece of land. Finally, wound botulism occurs when lesions are contaminated with this bacteria ( CDC, Fact ) .

In nature, Clostridium botulinus can be found in the dirt and aquatic home grounds in the universe ( Shapiro, 5 ) . When infected with botulism, symptoms begin anyplace from 6 hours to 2 hebdomads ( Hurlbert, 18 ) . Symptoms include dual vision, blurred vision, slurred address, trouble swallowing, dry oral cavity, musculus failing, purging, and finally respiratory failure ( CDC, Fact ) . Botulism is non contagious and affects all age groups. Once the symptoms appear, the harm is irreversible ; the lone intervention involves inactive antibody shootings against all botulinum toxin A strains. Often, the harm is already done even before victims realize what has occurred ( Hurlbert, 18 ) .

Due to their damaging effects, Clostridium botulinus is an effectual arm. When the bacterium is widely spread with biological terrorism onslaught, the sum of antiserum required to handle 100s 1000s of open people would miss significantly. As mentioned antecedently, even the antiserum treated persons would ne’er to the full retrieve from the harm. In add-on, the effects of antitoxin would turn out futile in some instances, as many people would hold surpassed the badness bound of the disease ( Hurlbert, 18 ) .

Contrary to the victory that the bacteriums perform within the organic structure, Clostridium botulinus is unstable in air. When exposed to sunlight, dry conditions and brief boiling, Clostridium botulinus is easy destroyed ( Hurlbert, 18 ) . Besides, the anaerobiotic nature makes the toxin hard to turn. Large measures of this pathogen are necessary in order to pollute the H2O supply to make to a deadly concentration ( Shapiro, 5 ) .

Historically, the knowing usage of the botulism toxin day of the month to the twentieth century. The Japanese first bean developing this toxin as a arm within the ill-famed Nipponese biological unit in Manchuria. ( Williams and Wallace ) . A twosome old ages subsequently, during World War II, the United States besides developed methods for the large-scale production of the botulism toxin. To maintain this work anon. , scientists referred to the toxin as agent X. The United States besides produced the toxin in big measures in order to utilize them for inoculation. Because the United States feared that the Axis powers would utilize the botulism toxin during their planned Normandy invasion, the United States vaccinated the military personnels involved in the invasion so that they would develop unsusceptibility to them. Contrary to what was predicted, Germany was excessively fearful of the Allied power & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s revenge of biological arms. Other states, including the former Soviet Union, experimented with this toxin every bit good ( Fong, 194 ) .

Iraq conducted the largest known military botulism toxin plans, bring forthing 19,000 litres of concentrated toxin loaded into missiles and shells. Ironically, the seed civilizations were lawfully obtained from American Microbiological Supply House. To fix for possible exposure to this toxin, about 8,000 American service forces were vaccinated in 1991 ( Fong, 195 ) .

In the event of biological terrorism, immediate sensing is hard, as the symptoms would non originate for over one twenty-four hours. Inoculation after exposure, as mentioned antecedently, would be uneffective, as botulism is non a contagious disease, and the unsusceptibility would develop in 12 yearss, and by that clip, the toxin would hold already taken full consequence ( Fong, 201 ) .

To observe the large-scale sensing of this toxin, a series of right diagnosing is necessary. If one is diagnosed with botulism that is non wound botulism, infant botulism, or confirmed food-borne botulism, immediate epidemiology probe is necessary. It is possible that the toxin was aerosolized, or was ingested along with nutrient ( Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ) .

A new quandary for the approaching century, biological terrorism is an indispensable subject that must be looked upon. As the field of molecular biological science develops, the potency of this scientific discipline for making even more effectual and hideous biological arm must be considered. Besides, the recent war and the current menace of farther United States military engagement with Iraq has reportedly raised the chance of the usage of biological arms both on the battleground and in terrorist onslaughts on civilian populations anyplace in the universe ( Hurlbert, 2 ) .


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