unusual increase in the number of cases of a disease in a limited time
among a limited population. The magnitude of the epidemic depends
upon the contagiousness of the agent, the presence or absence of
a. Types of Living Biological Agents.
Living germ or microorganism-type biological weapon systems (for
example, bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, fungi) are unique in that the
agents involved are alive. They are called pathogens. If Threat
forces use these agents, they will probably use them primarily in a
strategic role to attack support troops at rear-area installations or
to destroy plant and animal resources.
Several diseases transmitted by microorganisms begin in animals that
transmit them to humans. Insects and contaminated water and food
carry other diseases. Direct contact with infected persons spreads
still other diseases.
b. Symptoms of Biological Agents.
not appear for days following an attack. This incubation period
makes it important for soldiers to be alert for any signs of
illness in their unit, especially if an unusual number of
soldiers begin to display symptoms of illness. There also will be
an increase in the sick call rate. These symptoms may indicate
that a biological attack has occurred.
c. Factors That Influence the Effect of Biological Agents.
In most cases the normal healthy body can overcome the invasion of
small quantities of disease-producing microorganisms. However, the
body's defenses are a relative matter; they probably will not be able
to overcome the mass invasion of disease germs soldiers will likely
encounter during a biological attack by Threat Forces. Some of the
factors involved in the infection of individuals by biological agents
Route of entry of an agent into the body
Body defenses available to fight the agent when it enters the
Effectiveness of the agent at that time
Toxic biological weapons (toxins) are nonliving, poisonous substances
produced as by-products of microorganisms, plants, and animals.
Chemical synthesis can produce some toxins. Toxins can produce the
same symptoms as nerve, blister, choking, and blood agents and
pathogens, in any combination of effects. General field behavioral
characteristics affect how toxins are used and