Bioterrorism involves the release biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins that can harm the people, plants, and animals exposed to them. These agents may either be naturally-occurring or genetically modified. They are used nowadays in biological warfare. Some of the pathogenic agents used in bioterrorism nowadays are mutated or altered to increase their pathogenicity. They have become more resistant to antibiotics, can spread rapidly, and target a much bigger population. Pathogenic agents such as bacteria and viruses can easily spread through food, air, and water. Terrorists prefer to use biological agents in warfare since they don’t contract symptoms immediately after the infection. An infected person may not show outward signs up to several days.
Biological agents can be easily obtained by terrorists and are now one of the most effective weapons used in warfare. They are threatening and can cause panic in a country. Early detection of bioterrorism attack is the best way to lessen its impact. We can counteract the threat by being prepared. It won’t harm to have enough supply of antibiotics that serve as prophylactic. The challenge here is that antibiotics work mostly against bacteria as viruses are resistant to antibiotics. In addition, prolong use of antibiotics can cause other problems such as allergic reactions and hypersensitivity. To counteract viral infection, antiviral drugs can be taken under a physician’s advice. However, these drugs should be taken only after a confirmed infection. They are not suitable prophylactics as they have adverse health effects.
Vaccines can also help by potentially protecting you against bacterial and viral infections. Vaccines are biological preparations of bacteria or viruses; can be modified to lessen the effect and most of the time not fatal. Vaccines trigger a specific immune response to kill pathogenic microorganisms. They boost your immune system by training your antibodies to combat antigens so that when the same antigen attacks the body, the immune system can easily recognize and destroy it before it invades and damages the body.
Passive immunization, on the other hand, is a method of immunization where a serum containing antibodies against a particular antigen is injected and may be done right after exposure to a virus or a bacterium. The mechanism behind this is to target the effect of these pathogens, not directly attack them. What they do is they stop the fatal form of the disease from contracting. However, this technique is still under study and is not widely used.
The simplest way to survive bioterrorism is a healthy body. A healthy body means healthy immune system that fights off diseases. Your immune system will determine the severity of the illness since it is your first line of defense. Boost your immune system by having good nutrition. Unfortunately, not all people have a balanced diet and good nutritional habits. Also, only few exercise nowadays. It is crucial to supply your diet with certain vitamins and minerals that can improve your immune system. Remember antibiotics and other drugs work with the immune system so take care of it.