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Weapons of Mass Destruction

Threat Scenario, Detection, Super Diseases, BZ Gas, Anthrax, Ebola, Glanders, Hantavirus, Pneumonic Plague, Small Pox, Typhoid, VX Gas, Tabun-Sarin-Soman


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The Hantavirus has been proposed in some quarters as a possible agent of biological origin. It emerged in the "Four-Corner" region of the American Southwest in 1993 and demonstrated that even First World countries such as the US are not immune to the sudden emergence of an indigenous disease with life-threatening potential.

Not that Americans hadn't been exposed to the disease before. The "Canyon virus" variant that appeared is related to the Hantaan viruses that created disease among GIs in the Korean War. Both are members of the genus Hantavirus, family Bunyaviridae, with three segments of negative-sense single-strand RNA.

In the wilds this disease is spread by small rodents. People contract the disease after exposure to rodent urine and feces, spread through small dust particle in the air. This suggests that a similar method could be employed to spread this disease as a biological agent through the delivery of fine dusts contaminated with Hantavirus spores. The fatality rate from this disease is generally around 60 percent even with treatment.

The first symptoms of most Hantavirus exposures resulting in the disease are fever, muscle aches, chills, and cough. As the disease progresses, the lungs quickly fill with blood, choking airways. Death can result in a matter of hours after the initial symptoms. And the initial symptoms are so common that they can easily go unrecognized.

Supportive care and meticulous monitoring of vital signs and fluid balance are the basis for therapy. Severe hypoxia and over hydration should be avoided or prevented.  Use in combating such an agent.

Threat Scenario, Detection, Super Diseases BZ Gas, Anthrax, Ebola, Glanders, Hantavirus, Pneumonic Plague, Small Pox, Typhoid, VX Gas