e-ISSN 1828-1427


Rivista trimestrale di Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria edita dall'Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "G. Caporale"

A quarterly journal devoted to veterinary public health, veterinary science and medicine published by the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise ‘G. Caporale’ in Teramo, Italy

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2006 - Volume 42 (4) October-December
R.E. Weller
Risk of disease spread through bioterrorism 351-367

Bioterrorism is seen as a clear and present danger, although historically, acts of bioterrorism have been relatively unpredictable, rare and, thus far, small-scale events. The risk of an event is elevated by increasing contact among species and a global connectivity that provides rapid dissemination of infectious diseases regardless of origin. Virtually any pathogenic microbe could be used by bioterrorists. An attack may be difficult to distinguish from a naturally occurring infectious disease outbreak; however, consequences are likely to be similar. The agricultural sector is extremely vulnerable to bioterrorist attacks because animals and plants have little or no innate resistance to foreign pathogens and are not vaccinated or otherwise protected against these diseases. It is also important to note that weapons or delivery systems are not an issue because the animals and plants themselves are the primary vector for transferring agents. Many bioterrorism agents are zoonotic in origin, thus an attack on animal populations could pose a health risk to humans. Additionally, disease outbreaks resulting from bioterrorism could jump to wildlife species, persist in the environment, replace locally adapted enzootic strains, expand their range, or emerge as a new zoonotic disease in na´ve human and animal populations.

Agro-terrorism, Biological weapons, Bioterrorism, Bioterrorists, Pathogens, Zoonoses.

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