Bioterrorism for the respiratory physician
Article first published online: 17 DEC 2008
© 2009 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2009 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology
Volume 14, Issue 1, pages 5–11, January 2009
How to Cite
WATERER, G. W. and ROBERTSON, H. (2009), Bioterrorism for the respiratory physician. Respirology, 14: 5–11. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2008.01446.x
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 17 DEC 2008
- Received 1 September 2008; accepted 30 September 2008.
Terrorist attacks by definition are designed to cause fear and panic. There is no question that a terrorist attack using biological agents would present a grave threat to stability of the society in which they were released. Early recognition of such a bioterrorist attack is crucial to containing the damage they could cause. As many of the most likely bioterrorism agents present with pulmonary disease, respiratory physicians may be crucial in the initial recognition and diagnosis phase, and certainly would be drawn into treatment of affected individuals. This review focuses on the biological agents thought most likely to be used by terrorists that have predominantly respiratory presentations. The primary focus of this review is on anthrax, plague, tularaemia, ricin, and Staphylococcal enterotoxin B. The pathogenesis, clinical manifestations and treatment of these agents will be discussed as well as historical examples of their use. Other potential bioterrorism agents with respiratory manifestations will also be discussed briefly.