Wednesday, 10 July 2019

What is Bioterrorisms?



Bioterrorism is the use, or threat of use, of biological agents, mainly pathogenic microorganisms that could infect people and cause disease and, thereby, ins-til fear and terror in all of the populace. Bioterrorism may differ from biological warfare in that the latter is usually directed against enemy armies and its purpose is to incapacitate or kill enemy soldiers, whereas in bioterrorism the purpose is to frighten and terrorize civilian populations, although casualties in large numbers may or may not occur. The most vivid example of bioterrorism occurred in the fall of 2001 when persons in various positions in politics and the television news media in New York and Washington received letters through the mail containing spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, the cause of the severe and often deadly anthrax disease. 
It became apparent at the time that the perpetrators of the anthrax bioterrorism, or others, could easily expand to other forms of bioterrorism by either contaminating agricultural products such as vegetables, milk, or meat on the farm or in the store with microorganisms pathogenic to humans, which would scare buyers away from such products (agroterrorism), or by spreading selected plant pathogenic microorganisms on certain crops, e.g., cereals, potatoes, and corn, which they could infect and destroy to various extents, thereby causing devastating losses that would further increase the fear of the people. 
Biological warfare has been talked about for several decades and many of the larger countries have been producing and stockpiling pathogenic microorganisms, such as the anthrax bacterium, for potential use against the army of an enemy country with which they might go to war. At the same time, however, several countries have been experimenting with and stockpiling microorganisms that can infect and destroy important staple food crops for certain countries, e.g., rice, potatoes, wheat, or beans, which could affect the availability of food and thereby survival of the people, or at least, their will to fight and prolong the war. 
This type of agricultural biological warfare has revolved around important pathogens of such crops, e.g., Magnaporthe grisea, the fungus causing the blast disease of rice; Phytophthora infestans, the oomycete causing the late blight of potato; and Puccinia graminis, the fungus causing the rust diseases of wheat and other small grains. As the specialization of crops in each area increases and as our knowledge of diseases of such crops increases, it becomes evident that such areas or countries become extremely vulnerable to agroterrorism or agrosabotage. This happens even if, or especially if, they grow relatively small areas of such specialty crops, e.g., bananas, citrus, coffee, and cacao, which are the main export crop and the main source of foreign currency for these countries. For each area producing such a crop there are pathogens of the crop elsewhere that, if introduced, could destroy the crop for the year to come and, possibly, forever. 
The pathogens that would be used on such clonal, genetically uniform, perennial crops are likely to be insect-vectored bacteria, phytoplasmas, or viruses. Such pathogens can be introduced into a field as a few bacteria- or virus-carrying insect vectors that would feed on and infect some of the plants and then, in the same or in subsequent years, multiply and spread the pathogen they carry to more plants over a continually expanding area.

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