- Be informed about potential threats--knowledge is power.
- Report any suspicious activities
- Report any suspicious substances/chemicals--do not touch the substance
- Leave the contaminated area--quickly secure the area and report to local authorities.
- Always wash your hands with soap!
- Try not to panic, just be calm and try to act logically.
- If you feel that you have been infected, call for medical help and avoid direct contact with people.
What can you do to protect yourself against a bioterrorist threat? Here are some of the practical (and obvious) measures that one can take in case of biological attack:
Biohazard Threat Levels
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies various diseases into 4 levels. Level 1 has the minimum risk and Level 4 has the highest.
Biohazard Level 1
Includes: Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, E. coli, varicella (chicken pox).
At Level 1, precautionary measures against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal, most likely involving gloves and facial protection. Decontamination procedures are similar to modern precautions against everyday viruses, such as washing ones hands with anti-bacterial soap and washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants.
Biohazard Level 2
Includes: Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, influenza, Lyme disease, West Nile virus, salmonella, scrapie.
Biohazard Level 3
Anthrax, BSE, HIV, mumps, SARS, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhus, Yellow fever.
Biohazard Level 4
Includes: Bolivian fever, Dengue fever, Ebola, Hanta virus, Lassa virus, and other various hemorrhagic diseases mostly from Africa
At this level, the use of a space suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is required. The entrance and exit of a Level 4 biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultra-violet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and both doors are prevented from opening at the same time through an electronic security system. Air and water service originating and exiting from a Level 4 biolab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to prevent accidental release of the biological agent.
- "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 4th Edition." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1999. 7 May 2006. <http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/biosfty/bmbl4/bmbl4toc.htm>
- "Biological Warfare." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 24 Apr 2006, 21:38 UTC. 7 May 2006, 07:20
- "Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism." TerrorismFiles.org. 07 May 2006. <http://www.terrorismfiles.org/weapons/biological_weapons.html>.
- Brain, Marshall. "How Biological and Chemical Warfare Works." HowStuffWorks.com. 07 May 2006. <http://www.howstuffworks.com/biochem-war.htm>.
- Carafano, James Jay. "Improving the Federal Response to Catastrophic Bioterrorist Attacks: The Next Steps." Backgrounder. Nov 13, 2003. pp.1-8. The Heritage Foundation.
- Dudley, William. Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: Weapons of Mass Destruction. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2005. p9,11.
- Levine, Herbert. Chemical & Biological Weapons in Our Times. USA: Franklin Watts, 2000.