Bioterrorism Agents

Bioterrorism agents are typically biological materials, such as bacteria or viruses used in acts of warfare.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorize biological agents according to the risk they pose to the public. Those that pose the highest risk, because they can be easily disseminated and could result in high death rate (mortality), are classified as Category A. These agents include bacteria, such as:

  • Anthrax.

  • Botulism.

  • Plague.

  • Tularemia.

  • Viruses, such as variola that cause smallpox, and those causing hemorrhagic fever, including Hantavirus and Ebola.

The use of chemical agents as weapons of war is also a threat. The CDC classifies these into the following categories:

  • Blister-inducing agents.

  • Blood-poisoning agents.

  • Lung-damaging agents.

  • Incapacitating agents.

  • Nerve agents.

  • Riot control/tear gas.

  • Vomit-inducing agents.