2. Forensic Investigation of Biological Weapon Use

  1. John Gall4 and
  2. Jason Payne-James5
  1. T. J. J. Inglis1,
  2. E. M. Eitzen Jr2 and
  3. A. G. Robertson3

Published Online: 14 MAR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470973158.ch2

Current Practice in Forensic Medicine

Current Practice in Forensic Medicine

How to Cite

Inglis, T. J. J., Eitzen, E. M. and Robertson, A. G. (2011) Forensic Investigation of Biological Weapon Use, in Current Practice in Forensic Medicine (eds J. Gall and J. Payne-James), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470973158.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 4

    Royal Children's Hospital and Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia

  2. 5

    London Hospital Medical College, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    PathWest Laboratory Medicine in Perth, Australia

  2. 2

    Falls Church, Virginia, USA

  3. 3

    Department of Health, Western Australian, WA, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2011
  2. Published Print: 4 FEB 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470744871

Online ISBN: 9780470973158



  • forensic investigation of biological weapon use;
  • threat of biological weapons, and use by terrorists - a cycle of peaks and troughs in perception of the public and governments;
  • incidents, The Dalles Salmonella outbreak in 1984 - and series of anthrax cases in the USA in 2001;
  • immediate threat of state-sponsored biological weapon use - a prominent feature of the Cold War;
  • emerging infectious disease events - of global significance in the last decade;
  • threat from disgruntled employees - access to stocks of potential bioweapon agents, knowledge in using them and malevolent intent;
  • SARS, avian and pandemic influenza - all being viral, rapid epidemic spread of a new biological agent;
  • biology of potential use - in warfare, terrorism and biocrime;
  • forensic application of microbial genotyping - as genetic fingerprinting, or microbial forensics, a subsidiary of bioforensics;
  • biocrimes, with live agents or biotoxins - and a strong element of deniability


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • A choice of words

  • Threat assessments

  • Presenting features

  • Forensic microbiology or microbial forensics?

  • Assembling evidence from emerging infectious disease biology

  • Current constraints

  • References

  • Appendix