Biological Terrorism


Biological Agents

Biological agents are toxins or organisms that are divided into three separate types: viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Biological agents can be dispersed by spraying them into the air, infecting animals, person-to-person contact, or contamination of food and water.

Specific information on biological agents is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Preparing for Biological Terrorism

  • Check with your doctor to make sure that you and your family are up-to-date on all your immunizations
  • Install a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter in your home to filter out particles in the 0.3-10.0 micron range; this will filter out most biological agents

During & After a Biological Attack

Public health officials may not be able to tell you what to do immediately following an incident. Time will be needed to determine what the illness or substance is, how it should be treated, and who is in danger.

Listen to your radio or tv for news and information for signs and symptoms of exposure, areas in danger, if medication or vaccines are being distributed, and where you should seek medical attention should you become ill.

If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby:
  • Move away quickly
  • Wash with soap and water
  • Contact authorities
  • Listen to the media for official instructions
  • Seek medical attention if you become sick
If you are exposed to a biological agent:
  • Remove and bag your clothes and personal items; follow official instructions for disposal of contaminated items
  • Wash yourself with soap and water and put on clean clothes
  • Seek medical assistance; you may be advised to stay away from others or quarantined
It is important to pay attention to official instructions via radio, tv, and emergency alert systems after an attack.