Pathogens and Their Weaponization. Geoffrey Zubay. Columbia University Press . Agents of Bioterrorism. Google Preview. Pub Date: February Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Jan 1, , Geoffrey Zubay and others published Agents of Bioterrorism: Pathogens and their Weaponization }. [Book Review: Agents of Bioterrorism: Pathogens and Their Weaponization.] Article in The Quarterly Review of Biology 81(3) · September with 5.

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Bioterrorism: pathogens as weapons.

Epidemics of louseborne typhus, plague, influenza, and dysentery have been important in the shaping of human destiny and have caused more deaths than all the wars throughout history [ 123—4 ].

The book also examines strategies for making vaccines and protecting the population in a bioterror attack. Receive exclusive offers and updates from Oxford Academic. Despite the variability in their clinical presentation, pathogenic rickettsiae cause debilitating disease, and any one of the highly virulent rickettsial species listed in table 1 could be used as a potential biological weapon.

During later stages of infection, patients appear to be delirious and exhibit neurologic symptoms, including stupor. The human body louse, Pediculus humanus corporisis the principal vector for R. Several biological agents, including Rickettsia prowazekii and Coxiella burnetii —the causative agents of louseborne typhus and Q fever, respectively—have been weaponized and field-tested, with variable effectiveness, by the former Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States [ 23 ].

Add comment Close comment form modal. Rickettsial diseases are widely distributed throughout the world as zoonotic cycles in foci of endemicity, with sporadic and often seasonal outbreaks developing [ 56 ].

Account Options Sign in. Because of their unique biological characteristics, such as environmental stability, small size, aerosol transmission, persistence in infected hosts, low infectious dose, and high associated morbidity and mortality, Rickettsia prowazekii and Coxiella burnetii have been weaponized. A similar situation could also exist for other rickettsial pathogens that are endemic in an affected area. Because several rickettsial pathogens are on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of select agents, their acquisition from established repositories and their transportation are restricted.


The past and present threat of rickettsial diseases to military medicine and international public health. As obligate intracellular bacteria, rickettsiae require eukaryotic host cells for propagation, and the isolation and purification of rickettsiae without host cell contaminants would require highly skilled personnel and elaborate laboratory procedures.

Citing articles via Web of Science Pathogens and Their Weaponization. Furthermore, mass production of rickettsial pathogens and the procedures required for their aerosolization are highly hazardous. The Challenge Of Rickettsial Pathogens. You must accept the terms and conditions.

Pathogenic Rickettsiae as Bioterrorism Agents | Clinical Infectious Diseases | Oxford Academic

John Bartlett and Bioterrorism. Humans serve as a host to R. Considering that the median infective dose of R. The authors examine thirteen disease-causing agents, including those responsible for anthrax, the plague, smallpox, influenza, and SARS. This new work offers a clear and thorough account of the threats posed by bioterrorism from the perspective of biologists. Close mobile search navigation Article navigation. The severity of rickettsial disease has been associated with pathogen virulence and host-related factors e.

Because of their unique biological characteristics environmental stability, small size, aerosol transmission, persistence in infected hosts, low infectious dose, high morbidity, and substantial mortalityR. Initiating the proper treatment and curtailing outbreaks is the most crucial step, because prompt initiation of antibiotic treatment would prevent bbioterrorism from becoming ill and weaponiaation dying.

In addition, acquisition of rickettsial pathogens from reservoir hosts would be a daunting task requiring time-consuming protocols to obtain pure and virulent isolates. You have entered an invalid code.

Related articles in Web of Science Google Scholar. Geoffrey Zubay is professor of biology at Columbia University. In contrast to the explosive nature of outbreaks of louseborne typhus, sporadic but limited outbreaks of louseborne typhus and other rickettsial diseases have been reported throughout the world. In the present article, the pros and cons of weaponizing rickettsial pathogens and the potential of these pathogens in the hands of bioterrorists are discussed, taking into consideration the biological attributes of this group of gram-negative, obligate intracellular bacteria.


Columbia University Press Amazon. This one attribute is a major factor in the transmission of typhus and is responsible for the flaring of an epidemic in a susceptible population.

Please pathlgens for further notifications by email. Thus, the use of these agents for mass transmission requires a massive number of andd infected arthropod vectors or kilograms of aerosolized rickettsiae. Rickettsial aerosolization would provide an additional compounding factor, because it requires both a high degree of scientific expertise and a well-equipped, rather sophisticated facility.

The body louse will abandon a patient with a fever and seek another host. In recent years, increased awareness and proper treatment and care have had a great impact on reducing case-fatality rates associated with rickettsial diseases. The conditions that allow for the coexistence of body lice and a susceptible population could ov the starting point for a bioterrorism-initiated infection, because the release of the rickettsiae would set off a subsequent chain reaction.

However, from time to time, these infections have reemerged in epidemic form in human populations e.

Hospital-onset neonatal sepsis and mortality in weaponizatioj resource settings — will bundles save the day? Rickettsioses are a good example of diseases whose importance is not adequately appreciated, except by patients.

Epidemiologic characteristics of selected highly pathogenic rickettsiae. Reply to Wasko et al.