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CHAPTER 9

Aerobiological Aspects of Biological Warfare

During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union, United States and other nations pursued the development of biological weapons. In more recent history, biological weapon capabilities were destroyed in Iraq following the Gulf War and by Syria in 2014. A historical review of biological warfare reveals that weaponeers placed emphasis on the ability to disseminate aerosols containing respirable biological agents, to include bacteria, viruses and biologically derived toxins. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the aerobiological aspects of biological warfare, e.g. particle size, capacity for agent dispersal as infectious aerosols and stability of aerosols. Particular biological agents examined include a spore-forming bacterial agent (Bacillus anthracis), vegetative bacterial agent (Fancisella tularensis), viral agent (Ebola and Marburg filoviruses) and a biologically derived toxin (ricin). Also included is a brief examination of plant pathogens as biological weapons, e.g. the fungus Tilletia sp. developed by Iraq to destroy wheat crops. The chapter concludes with future prospects for the threat of biological warfare in the 21st century.

Print publication date: 26 Apr 2016
Copyright year: 2016
Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-594-0
PDF eISBN: 978-1-84973-791-3
ePub eISBN: 978-1-78262-783-8
From the book series:
Issues in Toxicology