Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Whis is more dangerous...a chemical or biological attack?

A biological attack can potentially have a more devastating impact than a chemical attack, since people infected with a biological agent can spread the disease for a considerable length of time and over a broad geographical region before we are aware than an attack has taken place.

Anthrax is the only 'high-profile' biological agent where this is not the case. Anthrax is not contagious. It is not transmitted person to person. This means that an anthrax attack, would, like a chemical attack, only affect those in the vicinity of the attack. Once the anthrax has settled on the ground, it poses no further threat because it is only fatal when inhaled in quite large quantities.

A chemical agent will only affect people who are near the place of its release. Unless released in a confined area, most chemical agents disperse relatively quickly (depending on wind speed, humidity, and so on), and will be carried by the wind along a narrow corridor.

With regard to the symptoms produced by chemical or biological weapons, then it largely depends on which agent is being used.

One milligram of the chemical agent VX on your skin will kill you. Likewise, infection with a virus like smallpox can also be deadly.

In that sense both chemical and biological agents are equally dangerous.

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