Countermeasures Against Biological Terrorism (Bioterrorism)
Faculty of Science, Okayama University of Science, Ridai-cho, Okayama 700-0005, Japan
Since the September 11, 2001 act of terrorism to the World Trade Center in New York City and subsequent acts of anthrax terrorism in the USA, public concern about bioterrorism has increased. Although the use of biological weapons in biowarfare between nations has not achieved dramatic effects, their use for terrorism is thought to be effective because it easily causes panic among the general public. Unfortunately, our understanding of and preparations to combat bioterrorism in Japan are still inadequate. The production and stockpiling of bioweapons are easier than of chemical or nuclear weapons. There are many diseases/agents utilizable as bioweapons, such as anthrax, smallpox, plague or botulism. Natural outbreaks of these diseases are rare, therefore many medical facilities and staff have no experience in handling them. The adaptation of systems against bioterrorism is a pressing need for national and local governments.