Bioterrorism & Weapons of Mass Destruction

Bioterrorism is the intentional use of infectious agents, or germs, to cause illness. Bioterrorism preparedness is a national priority. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has worked with state and local health departments to identify and to respond to bioterrorism for several years. The federal response to bioterrorism includes medications, medical supplies, and if necessary, vaccines to protect an affected community.

Berrien County is aware of the need to be prepared for bioterrorism. For the past several years Public Health has worked with Berrien County first response agencies to increase our ability to detect and respond to a bioterrorism attack. Public Health has also developed bioterrorism response plans along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The “Category A” Biological Agents

Among the many infectious diseases, there are a relative few that have been “weaponized.” That is, developed for use in warfare. There is evidence that some of these Category A agents may be available to, or in the possession of terrorists or governments hostile to the United States. They are:

Other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are grouped into five categories using the acronym CBRN (pronounced “see-burn”). They are Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. Terrorist groups and governments have previously used all of these materials except for nuclear weapons. For further information on these weapons, follow the links below:

  • Biological
  • Chemical: This site includes also information on toxic industrial chemicals (TIC) and toxic industrial materials (TIM), commonly referred to as “HAZMAT,” or hazardous materials.
    • Some chemicals which have been weaponized and used for warfare follow:
      • Bio-toxins
      • Blister Agents
      • Blood Agents
      • Nerve Agents
    • For poison questions of all types contact our regional Poison Control Center or for Poisoning emergencies, call 800-222-1222.
  • Nuclear: What to do in the event of a nuclear weapon detonation.
  • Radiological: What to do about “dirty bombs.”