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How can bioterrorism impact a community?

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yaga49 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM via web

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How can bioterrorism impact a community?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Depending on what type of bioterrorism is used, bioterrorism can have different kinds of impacts on communities.  What is clear, though, is that any kind of very successful bioterrorism would cause chaos in a community.  Let us look at two possible kinds of bioterrorism.

First, there is bioterrorism in which a disease is spread among the human population.  For example, we can imagine a terrorist organization managing to release a very virulent strain of flu in a city.  The flu as originally delivered would infect a number of people.  They would then transmit it others and so on until huge numbers of people in the city were sickened.  The impacts would be tremendous.  Hospitals would be overloaded and people both with the flu and with other problems might lack good treatment.  Businesses would close as too many workers became sick.  There might be problems keeping enough police or firefighters healthy to keep order and safety.

Second, we can imagine a bioterrorist attack against the food supply.  Imagine a deadly fungus unleashed in the Midwest that would kill large amounts of corn and wheat.  This, too, would cause chaos.  People would not become ill, but the supply of food would be greatly diminished.  Bread would be harder to come by.  Livestock would lack food, leading to reductions in the availability of meat and things like milk and cheese. 

In both of these cases, the actual impacts of the bioterrorism would be magnified by fear of other attacks.  In both cases, the situation would become chaotic.

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