Bioterrorism Preparedness

Poison bottle GIF

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“Bioterrorism? Really?” And other pesky questions.

Call of Duty, Batman, Resident Evil, Spiderman, Dead Rising, Quantico 2, The Bridge, and The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body… Do you know what these have in common?

They’ve all taught us about the dangers of bioterrorism.

“Well that’s just fiction. Can this happen IRL?”

If you think bioterrorism is merely a fictional plot device and are confident that Ms. Valerie Frizzle ISN’T plotting a strategic attack against your insides, you are (more or less) dead wrong.

This shit is both bananas and extremely real. Bioterrorism is a top tier threat to humanity, and unlike most of the disasters you’ll read about on HCTA, this call is coming from inside the house.

BUT WHY? AND HOW DO THEY GET THE SCHOOL BUS SO SMALL? Let’s get into it.

Humanity’s bioterrorism record has its roots in antiquity, when people figured out that the otherwise useless corpses of their dead comrades could continue combatting the enemy by providing a plentiful source of pathogens for poisoned arrows. We know that apes have been flinging poo for thousands of years, so it’s extremely likely early humans followed their lead and also engaged in biological warfare long before they developed a system for recording history.

Check out a few choice instances of bioterror attacks throughout the globe in our Bioterror Timeline.

You’ll certainly notice that the final entry on that list is from 2001, which means there must be no modern threat of bioterror in our post-terror world. Mission Accomplished? Isn’t that right, George W. Bush?

Experts believe the likelihood of bioterrorism attacks is higher than ever.

WHY, MS. FRIZZLE? WHY MUST YOU INSIST ON CONTINUING TO BRING YOUR MAGIC BUS-SHRINKING TECHNOLOGY TO OUR DEFENSELESS BODIES?

But for real, there are some very real dangers on the horizon.

  1. Gene-editing technologies (like CRISPR) are a double-edged sword: they can combat cancer, but could also fuel effective bio-warfare. 
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic (and our various reactions to it) have shown potential bad actors how easy it is to disrupt populations with highly contagious mutations of existing diseases.

The UN Secretary-General seems to agree.

The weakness and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic provide a window onto how a bioterrorism attack might unfold and may increase its risks. Non-state groups could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe.

Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General
Source: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061502

So what’s a forward-thinking citizen to do?

Your options: prepare or perish. 

Post-COVID-19, you may believe that public health systems have become more robust and are more prepared to help in times of crisis. Assuming bioterrorism is a problem for the government and not the individual may give you a false sense of security, so jump into your hazmat suit and let’s make a plan before the next quarantine alarm bells ring. You’ll never get your terror bus into my bloodstream, Frizzle! NEVER!

Soldiers discussing plans
Are these soldiers discussing what to eat for lunch or developing strategies for distributing new strains of Ebola to their unsuspecting enemies?

About the Authors

It takes a village! We are researching, writing and fact checking as a family. Collaboration is the name of the game, whether we’re running from a zombie horde or finding the best way to turn a complex concept into a deliciously digestible set of bullet points.

Katherine Esperanza is a Los Angeles based writer. When she's not conjuring new queer slice-of-life short stories, she's busy watching the newest films, out at queer shows, supporting queer artists, or just checking out the queer community as a whole.

A former international non-profiteer, small business owner, and co-op'er, Katherine is delighted to help introduce more leftist politics into the disaster preparedness/prepper sphere, which is currently far too right-wing.