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What Are Biological Agents?

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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What Are Biological Agents?

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that cause illness or death people, livestock, and crops. An example of a biological agent is anthrax spores.

Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred. If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.

A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel. Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined. Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.


Fact sheet: terrorism. Federal Emergency Management Agency website. Available at: http://www.fema.gov/hazards/terrorism/terrorf.shtm . Accessed October 11, 2004.

Last updated October 2004 by ]]>Krisha McCoy, MS]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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