Bioterrorism: Preparing for the impossible or the improbable

Manoj Lal Karwa, Brian Currie, Vladimir Kvetan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To review the current literature surrounding the history of bioterrorism, the relative risk of a bioterrorist attack, methods of surveillance for biological agents, identification and management of various biological agent casualties, as well as the role of the intensivist in managing a bioterrorist attack. Methods: Internet and Medline search (from 1966 to 2004) for articles relating to bioterrorism, biological agents, biological warfare, hospital preparedness, disaster management, and intensive care. Conclusions: There are few instances of a successful large-scale biological weapons attack in history. Weaponization of biological agents for aerosol dispersal is difficult and has often proved to be the rate-limiting step for a successful attack. Although a successful biological attack is currently unlikely, it is still feasible. More importantly, the threat of one is likely to cause much panic in the public, while a successful attack would overburden the current healthcare infrastructure. Intensivists will need to have specific knowledge of identifying and managing casualties from various biological agents. In addition, they will need to play an integral part in the preparedness of their institutions and communities for managing a bioterrorist event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Volume33
Issue number1 SUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Fingerprint

Bioterrorism
Biological Factors
Biological Warfare Agents
Biological Warfare
History
Panic
Disasters
Critical Care
Aerosols
Internet
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • Anthrax
  • Biological warfare
  • Biological weapons
  • Bioterrorism
  • Biowarfare
  • Botulism
  • Critical care
  • Disaster management
  • Hospital preparedness
  • Intensive care
  • Plague
  • Smallpox
  • Surge capacity
  • Terrorism
  • Toxins
  • Tularemia
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Cite this

Bioterrorism : Preparing for the impossible or the improbable. / Karwa, Manoj Lal; Currie, Brian; Kvetan, Vladimir.

In: Critical Care Medicine, Vol. 33, No. 1 SUPPL., 01.2005.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Karwa, Manoj Lal ; Currie, Brian ; Kvetan, Vladimir. / Bioterrorism : Preparing for the impossible or the improbable. In: Critical Care Medicine. 2005 ; Vol. 33, No. 1 SUPPL.
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