Bioterrorism agents are the agents used for bioterrorism which is a form of terrorism here living organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins are intentionally used to kill or cause sickness. These agents are difficult to detect and can be spread in the air as aerosols or in food or drink to infect as many people as possible. These agents may be genetically modified by those who want to use them as a weapon. There are no accurate tests available to screen inhabitants who do not show any sign, may have been exposed to a bioterrorism agent. Rapid molecular assay is available to detect the agent who shows symptoms.
This particular slide in a case study shows presence of Brucella spp. which causes Brucellosis a disease caused due to the intake of milk which is not pasteurized along with soft cheeses which is made infected animals milks, especially goats.
Brucella spp. is aerobic gram-negative coccobacillius generally with no pinpoint or able to be seen at 24 hrs. It grows gradually on the majority of lab media which include chocolate and sheep blood, and After 48 hrs. Growth on slides appears translucent, pinpoint, and smooth colony.Brucella can go into the human body via any cuts present in the skin, conjunctivae, mucous membranes, gastrointestinal (GI) tracts and respiratory and. Once it has been entered into the bloodstream, these particular organisms rapidly become pathogens which are contained within circulating polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) and macrophages, which make them use of various mechanisms in order to suppress or avoid bactericidal responses. Most patients who are infected with these bacteria shows general symptoms, such as fever, malaise, sweats. (Xavier, Paixao, Hartigh, Tsolis &Santos, 2010)
Prognosis is generally excellent. Tetracyclines, rifampicin,amino glycosides such as streptomycin and gentamicin are various Antibiotics which are very mush effective against Brucella bacteria. (Smits, 2012)However, use of more than single antibiotic treatment is required for several days as these particular bacteria can attack within cells. More specific care is required in case other systems are involved, Doxycyclines, Gentamicin, Streptomycin, Rifampin, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ) are commonly used antibiotics for the treatment of these particular bacteria. Combination therapy is required in patients with nervous system infections. However, the diagnosis is little poor in people, who are having endocarditis which occurs due to congestive heart failure. In endocarditis, surgery is required for a best outcome.
Intake of milk which is not pasteurized and products made from milk, as well as undercooked or raw meats, are supposed to be avoided. Proper Immunization of cattle is required to fight against this disease. Infected animals or animal products shall be properly handled. Immunization cannot be done in humans as it may cause disease in humans due to use of attenuated vaccine.
Brucella spp can be used as a biological weapon because this organism can enter humans through abrasions or cuts which can lead to serious infection.
Sentinel labs and their role in recognizing potential episodes of bioterrorism
In the nation’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN) all laboratories which have ability to analyze samples or specimens having biological toxin or microbial agent works as sentinels. All these sentinel labs works to recover the bioterrorism agents from specimens of patients and then pass on the particular suspected isolates to the proper public laboratory. If in case it is determined by the officials that the attack of bioterrorism has occurred, institute designs a proper preventive and protective measures in order to minimize the spread of particular disease.
118 Xavier, M., A. Paixao, T., B. den Hartigh, A., M. Tsolis, R., & L. Santos, R. (2010). Pathogenesis of Brucella spp. TOVSJ, 4(1), 109-118.
Smits, H. (2012). Control and prevention of brucellosis in small ruminants: time for action. Veterinary Record, 170(4), 97-98.