Threats from Biological Agents

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BIOLOGICAL AGENTS 6

Threatsfrom Biological Agents

Abstract

Biologicalagents pose a significant threat to human beings, livestock andwildlife, and crops. The threats range from death to incapacitation.The threats are termed as biological because they involve deliberaterelease of germs, bacteria, or any biological substance that maycause sickness. The primary biological agents include viruses,bacteria, and toxins. The purpose of this paper is to discuss theparticular types, forms, and the means of delivery of biologicalagents that pose the greatest risks. The paper also presents ananalysis of the likely outcome and the changes expected in a periodof ten years.

Biologicalagents

Anyorganisms or toxins in the environment that harm the health of humanbeings, crops, and animals or in other cases result in death arebiological agents (Drell, Sofaer, &amp Wilson, 1999). These agentslead to several harms through a biological attack. This attackhappens when there is a deliberate release of germs or biologicalcomponents that can result in sickness. Although some of these agentsare harmless, others are very harmful with the potentiality ofcausing ill health or death. Biological agents have the ability ofrapid replication, require minimal resources for survival, and causeinfection at small doses (Kortepeter &amp Parker, 1999).

Asa result of their invisibility, it is usually hard to identify therisks alongside biological agents. Harm from a biological agent mayresult from infection with the agent or an allergic reaction to theagent or substances the agents produce. In most workplaces, it isunfortunate that exposure to biological agents is intentional in asituation where the work involves direct contact with the agents. Inother cases, the contact with biological agents may be unintentionalwhere the worker comes in contact with the agent because of thenature of the work they do.

Specifictypes and forms of biological agents

Theprimary types of biological agents used as weapons are bacteria,parasites, toxins, and viruses. They occur in the natural environmentand thus found in various departments of workplaces. However, it isnecessary to understand that sometimes the growth and maintenance ofthese agents is difficult. The majority of these agents suffer abreakdown after exposure to sunlight or other environmentalconditions while others thrive well in the same conditions.

Meansof delivery of biological agents

Thereare various methods through which delivery of biological agents cantake place. This delivery could be through the use of animals,aerosols, person to person or contamination of food and water.Through the use of aerosols, delivery of the biological agents couldbe through dispersion into the air which results in the formation offine mist that can be blown for long distances (Drell, Sofaer, &ampWilson, 1999). The inhalation of the agents may result in diseases topeople, animals, and plants. However, in other cases, the aerosolsare crucial in the elimination of these bacteria. Through thedelivery of animals, some insects and animals carry the biologicalagents that cause diseases. Such animals and insects includelivestock, mosquitoes, fleas, and mice. There could be pathogenicorganisms persisting in the supplies of food and water to result inharm to human beings and livestock. Lastly, occurrence of the spreadof infectious diseases from one person to another could For instance,the source of some infectious diseases such as plague and smallpox isfrom humans.

Whatwill happen in the existence of the biological agents?

Fromthe discussion above, it is evident that there are various types ofbiological agents as well as the means of delivery of the agents. Inthe event where the biological agents are not controlled, there couldbe many infectious diseases affecting human beings, crops, andanimals. It is, therefore, crucial to have bodies that monitor theoccurrence of a biological threat. An alert should be given to peoplein a case where there is a potential threat from biological agents.At the same time, there should be an introduction of medical servicesfor treating the threats from biological agents. It is important tounderstand that threats from different biological agents requiredifferent forms of treatment.

Howthe happenings are expected to change ten years from now.

Therecould be an enormous threat from biological agents ten years fromnow. The changes in lifestyles, as well as the use chemicals in theprocessing of human and animal food, could expose us to more threatsfrom biological agents. There could be a challenge of resistance tothe biological agents to the available medication because of thecontinuous use of the medication. There is, therefore, a need to comeup with constant development of medications for the treatment of thethreats from the biological agents. This could not be the casebecause over time, the researchers and medical practitioners coulddevelop the most appropriate and effective medication to treat thedifferent threats from biological agents. Alternatively, the federalgovernment can come up with policies that prohibit the use ofchemicals likely to pose biological threats.

Conclusion

Theexistence of biological threats into the environment is a naturalphenomenon, and this implies the consequences alongside these effectsare inevitable. The different agents that pose biological threatsinclude viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Various deliverymethods aid in the spread of biological threats. There is the need toinitiate programs that ensure the control of these methods tominimize the threat emanating from them. It is also crucial to ensurethe constant development of the effects of the biological threats tomake sure that they do not become resistant to the availabletreatment.

References

Drell,S., Sofaer, A., &amp Wilson, G. (1999). TheNew Terror: Facing the threat of biological and chemical weapons.Stanford,Calif.: Hoover Institution Press.

Kortepeter,M. &amp Parker, G. (1999). Potential Biological Weapons Threats.EmergingInfectious Diseases. 5,4, 523-527.