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Unformatted text preview: FM 3-3 The avoidance of biological understanding of what biological Chapter 4 Biological Agents agents requires an agents are, how they may be used, and what happens to them once they are released. Units can then anticipate when and where biological agents will be used. They can estimate where the hazard is located so avoidance procedures can be initiated. Biological agents are divided into two broad categories pathogens and toxins. Pathogens Pathogens are infectious agents that cause disease in man, animals, or plants. Agents that constitute antipersonnel biological warfare (BW) threats include bacteria, viruses, and rickettsias (see Appendix B). These are commonly referred to as germs. While the vast majority of microorganisms are harmless or even helpful, there are about 100 naturally occurring pathogens that could be used as biological warfare (BW) agents. Pathogens cause disease (infection) by entering the body through the lungs, digestive tract, through the skin and mucous membranes of body openings. Once they enter the body, pathogens multiply, overcoming the bodys natural defenses, and produce disease. All bacteria do not require living cells for growth. Symptoms most commonly associated with pathogen infection include upper respiratory flu or cold like symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, pneumonia or skin lesions (spots or rashes). Some pathogens, cause nervous systems damage (headache, paralysis, convulsions, or coma). Bacteria Bacteria are living microorganisms. Unlike viruses and rickettsias, they are capable of reproduction outside living cells. If they enter the body and if the victim is not properly treated, the microorganism will multiply and incapacitate the host. Bacteria can be found in almost any environment. Those few that are potential BW agents have the ability to rapidly cause illness after entering the body through the lungs or digestive tract. A typical bacterial cell is 1-2 microns in diameter and 2-10 microns in length (1,000,000 microns = 1 meter). Viruses Viruses constitute a large group of infectious organisms. Unlike bacteria, they must be inside a cell in order to multiply. Viruses multiply by taking over the cell, causing it to produce viruses instead of normal cell components. After producing hundreds or even thousands of virus particles, the cell is often destroyed as these particles are released. Viruses are much smaller than bacteria, ranging from 0.02 - 0.2 microns in size. Their small size means that a relatively small amount of agent can infect a large number of personnel across a wide area. Rickettsiae Rickettsiae are bacteria that are unable to multiply unless they are within a living cell. Most are spread from one person to another by means of an insect or tick that serves as a vector. The rickettsia will be picked up by the vector from one infected person or animal, which then transmits the rickettsia when it bites its next victim ....
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- Fall '10