Portal:Biological warfare

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Biological warfare Portal

Biological warfare (BW), also known as germ warfare, is the use of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, other disease-causing biological agents, or the toxins produced by them as biological weapons (or bioweapons). There is a clear overlap between biological warfare and chemical warfare, as the use of toxins produced by living organisms is considered under the provisions of both the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Toxins, which are of organic origin, are often called "midspectrum agents". A biological weapon may be intended to kill, incapacitate, or seriously impair a person, group of people, or even an entire population. It may also be defined as the material or defense against such employment. Biological warfare is a military technique that can be used by nation-states or non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely, it may also be considered bioterrorism.The Geneva convention restricts the use of biological and chemical weapons as it is against human rights to use them.

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M125 bomblet
The M125 bomblet was a U.S. chemical sub-munition designed to deliver the nerve agent sarin. It was brought into service in 1954 with the M34 cluster bomb as part of the first U.S. air-delivered nerve agent weapon. The M125 bomblet was a sub-munition of the M34 cluster bomb, which was first brought into regular service by the United States Army in 1954. In development the M125 was known as the E54R6 bomblet (shortened to E54). The M34 and its payload of M125s was the first air-delivered nerve agent weapon in the U.S. chemical arsenal. Later, the Chemical Corps developed chemical-biological warheads for multiple missile systems including, Matador, Rascal, Snark, and Navaho missiles. These warheads incorporated the M125 bomblet and the M114 bomblet. Over 21,000 of the M125 containing M34 bombs were destroyed at Rocky Mountain Arsenal in 1976.

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Symbols for weapons of mass destruction
Credit: Fastfission

The term "weapon of mass destruction" usually refers to nuclear, radiological, biological, or chemical weapons. A weapon of mass destruction (WMD) or (WoMD) is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures (e.g. buildings), natural structures (e.g. mountains), or the biosphere in general. The scope and application of the term has evolved and been disputed, often signifying more politically than technically. Coined in reference to aerial bombing with chemical explosives, it has come to distinguish large-scale weaponry of other technologies, such as chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear.

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Diphtheria causes a characteristic swollen neck, sometimes referred to as 'bull neck'
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane (a pseudomembrane) on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity. A milder form of diphtheria can be restricted to the skin. Uncommon consequences include myocarditis (about 20% of cases) and peripheral neuropathy (about 10% of cases). It is caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium. Diphtheria is a contagious disease spread by direct physical contact or breathing the aerosolized secretions of infected individuals. Historically quite common, diphtheria has largely been eradicated in industrialized nations through widespread vaccination. In the United States for example, there were 52 reported cases of diphtheria between 1980 and 2000; between 2000 and 2007 there were only three cases as the DPT (Diphtheria–PertussisTetanus) vaccine is recommended for all school-age children. Boosters of the vaccine are recommended for adults since the benefits of the vaccine decrease with age without constant re-exposure; they are particularly recommended for those traveling to areas where the disease has not been eradicated.

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Sam Nunn
In the event of a biological attack, it's our doctors and nurses who will protect us, not our military. Detecting an outbreak early can mean the difference between containment and a massive outbreak.

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