Biological warfare
Overview
 
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

 such as bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es, and fungi
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons (often termed "bio-weapons" or "bio-agents") are living organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s or replicating entities (viruses) that reproduce or replicate within their host
Host (biology)
In biology, a host is an organism that harbors a parasite, or a mutual or commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment and shelter. In botany, a host plant is one that supplies food resources and substrate for certain insects or other fauna...

 victims. Entomological (insect) warfare
Entomological warfare
Entomological warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to attack the enemy. The concept has existed for centuries and research and development have continued into the modern era...

 is also considered a type of BW.

Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic
Strategy
Strategy, a word of military origin, refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. In military usage strategy is distinct from tactics, which are concerned with the conduct of an engagement, while strategy is concerned with how different engagements are linked...

 or tactical advantage over an adversary, either by threat or by actual deployment.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

 such as bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

, virus
Virus
A virus is a small infectious agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Viruses infect all types of organisms, from animals and plants to bacteria and archaea...

es, and fungi
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons (often termed "bio-weapons" or "bio-agents") are living organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s or replicating entities (viruses) that reproduce or replicate within their host
Host (biology)
In biology, a host is an organism that harbors a parasite, or a mutual or commensal symbiont, typically providing nourishment and shelter. In botany, a host plant is one that supplies food resources and substrate for certain insects or other fauna...

 victims. Entomological (insect) warfare
Entomological warfare
Entomological warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to attack the enemy. The concept has existed for centuries and research and development have continued into the modern era...

 is also considered a type of BW.

Biological weapons may be employed in various ways to gain a strategic
Strategy
Strategy, a word of military origin, refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. In military usage strategy is distinct from tactics, which are concerned with the conduct of an engagement, while strategy is concerned with how different engagements are linked...

 or tactical advantage over an adversary, either by threat or by actual deployment. Like some of the chemical weapons, biological weapons may also be useful as area denial weapons
Area denial weapons
An area denial weapon is a device used to prevent an adversary from occupying or traversing an area of land. The specific method used does not have to be totally effective in preventing passage as long as it is sufficient to severely restrict, slow down, or endanger the opponent...

. These agents may be lethal or non-lethal, and may be targeted against a single individual, a group of people, or even an entire population. They may be developed, acquired, stockpiled or deployed by nation states or by non-national groups. In the latter case, or if a nation-state uses it clandestinely
Clandestine operation
A clandestine operation is an intelligence or military operation carried out in such a way that the operation goes unnoticed.The United States Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms defines "clandestine operation" as "An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental...

, it may also be considered bioterrorism
Bioterrorism
Bioterrorism is terrorism involving the intentional release or dissemination of biological agents. These agents are bacteria, viruses, or toxins, and may be in a naturally occurring or a human-modified form. For the use of this method in warfare, see biological warfare.-Definition:According to the...

.

There is an overlap between biological warfare and chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

, as the use of toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

s produced by living organisms is considered under the provisions of both the Biological Weapons Convention
Biological Weapons Convention
The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the...

 and the Chemical Weapons Convention
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control agreement which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its full name is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction...

. Toxins and Psychochemical weapons
Psychochemical weapons
Psychochemical weapons, also known as drug weapons, are psychopharmacological agents used within the context of military aggression. They fall within the range of mid-spectrum agents, i.e. an intermediate range between chemical weapons and biological weapons...

 are often referred to as midspectrum agents. Unlike bioweapons, these midspectrum agents do not reproduce in their host and are typically characterized by shorter incubation periods.

Overview

Offensive biological warfare, including mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

, stockpiling and use of biological weapons, was outlawed by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The rationale
Theory of justification
Theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability...

 behind this treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

, which has been ratified
Ratification
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principal. The term applies to private contract law, international treaties, and constitutionals in federations such as the United States and Canada.- Private law :In contract law, the...

 or acceded to by 163 countries as of 2009, is to prevent a biological attack which could conceivably result in large numbers of civilian fatalities and cause severe disruption to economic and societal infrastructure
Infrastructure
Infrastructure is basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function...

. Many countries, including signatories of the BWC, currently pursue research into the defense or protection against BW, which is not prohibited by the BWC.

A nation or group that can pose a credible threat of mass casualty has the ability to alter the terms on which other nations or groups interact with it. Biological weapons allow for the potential to create a level of destruction and loss of life far in excess of nuclear, chemical or conventional weapons, relative to their mass and cost of development and storage. Therefore, biological agents may be useful as strategic deterrents in addition to their utility as offensive weapons on the battlefield.

As a tactical weapon for military use, a significant problem with a BW attack is that it would take days to be effective, and therefore might not immediately stop an opposing force. Some biological agents (especially smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, plague, and tularemia
Tularemia
Tularemia is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. A Gram-negative, nonmotile coccobacillus, the bacterium has several subspecies with varying degrees of virulence. The most important of those is F...

) have the capability of person-to-person transmission
Transmission (medicine)
In medicine and biology, transmission is the passing of a communicable disease from an infected host individual or group to a conspecific individual or group, regardless of whether the other individual was previously infected...

 via aerosol
Aerosol
Technically, an aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in a gas. Examples are clouds, and air pollution such as smog and smoke. In general conversation, aerosol usually refers to an aerosol spray can or the output of such a can...

ized respiratory droplets. This feature can be undesirable, as the agent(s) may be transmitted by this mechanism to unintended populations, including neutral or even friendly forces. While containment of BW transmission is less of a concern for certain criminal or terrorist organizations, it remains a significant concern for the military and civilian populations of virtually all nations.

History

Biological warfare has been practiced repeatedly throughout history. Before the 20th century, the use of biological agents took three major forms:
  • Deliberate poison
    Poison
    In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

    ing of food
    Food
    Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

     and water
    Water
    Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

     with infectious material
  • Use of microorganisms, toxins or animals, living or dead, in a weapon system
  • Use of biologically inoculated fabrics

Antiquity

The earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is recorded in Hittite
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

 texts of 1500–1200 B.C, in which victims of plague were driven into enemy lands. Although the Assyrians knew of ergot
Ergot
Ergot or ergot fungi refers to a group of fungi of the genus Claviceps. The most prominent member of this group is Claviceps purpurea. This fungus grows on rye and related plants, and produces alkaloids that can cause ergotism in humans and other mammals who consume grains contaminated with its...

, a parasitic fungus of rye which produces ergotism
Ergotism
Ergotism is the effect of long-term ergot poisoning, traditionally due to the ingestion of the alkaloids produced by the Claviceps purpurea fungus which infects rye and other cereals, and more recently by the action of a number of ergoline-based drugs. It is also known as ergotoxicosis, ergot...

 when ingested, there is no evidence that they poisoned enemy wells with the fungus, as has been claimed.

According to Homer's
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 epic poems about the legendary Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

,
spears and arrows were tipped with poison. During the First Sacred War
First Sacred War
The First Sacred War was fought between the Amphictyonic League of Delphi and the city of Kirrha. The conflict arose due to Kirrha's frequent robbery and mistreatment of pilgrims going to Delphi and their encroachments upon Delphic land. The war resulted in the defeat and destruction of Kirrha...

 in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, in about 590 BC, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 and the Amphictionic League poisoned the water supply of the besieged town of Kirrha (near Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

) with the toxic plant hellebore
Hellebore
Commonly known as hellebores, members of the genus Helleborus comprise approximately 20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, within which it gave its name to the tribe of Helleboreae...

. The Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 commander Manius Aquillus poisoned the wells of besieged enemy cities in about 130 BC.

During the 4th century BC Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

n archers tipped their arrow tips with snake venom, human blood, and animal feces
Feces
Feces, faeces, or fæces is a waste product from an animal's digestive tract expelled through the anus or cloaca during defecation.-Etymology:...

 to cause wounds to become infected
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

. There are numerous other instances of the use of plant toxins, venoms, and other poisonous substances to create biological weapons in antiquity.

In 184 B.C, Hannibal of Carthage
Hannibal Barca
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca Hannibal's date of death is most commonly given as 183 BC, but there is a possibility it could have taken place in 182 BC. was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician. He is generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history...

 had clay pots filled with venomous snakes and instructed his soldiers to throw the pots onto the decks of Pergamene
Pergamon
Pergamon , or Pergamum, was an ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey, in Mysia, today located from the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus , that became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period, under the Attalid dynasty, 281–133 BC...

 ships. In about AD 198, the Parthian city of Hatra
Hatra
Hatra is an ancient city in the Ninawa Governorate and al-Jazira region of Iraq. It is currently known as al-Hadr, a name which appears once in ancient inscriptions, and it was in the ancient Iranian province of Khvarvaran. The city lies northwest of Baghdad and southwest of Mosul.-History:Hatra...

 (near Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

, Iraq) repulsed the Roman army led by Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus , also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of...

 by hurling clay pots filled with live scorpions at them.

Middle Ages

The Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 established commercial and political connections between the Eastern and Western areas of the world, but it did so through the most mobile army ever seen. The armies, being the most rapidly moving travelers who had ever moved between the steppes of East Asia (where bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 was and remains endemic among small rodents), managed to keep the chain of infection without a break until they reached, and infected, peoples and rodents who had never encountered it. The ensuing Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 may have killed almost half of the population of Europe in the next decades, changing the course of Asian and European history.

During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, victims of the bubonic plague were used for biological attacks, often by flinging fomites such as infected corpses and excrement over castle walls using catapult
Catapult
A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during...

s. In 1346, during the siege of Kafa (now Feodossia Ukraine) the attacking Tartar Forces which were subjugated by the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan, used the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 who had died of plague, as weapons. An outbreak of plague followed and the defending forces retreated, followed by the conquest of the city by the Mongol army. It has been speculated that this operation may have been responsible for the advent of the Black Death in Europe. At the time, the attackers thought that the stench was enough to kill them, though it was the disease that was deadly.

At the siege of Thun-l'Évêque
Thun-l'Évêque
-References:*...

 in 1340, during the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

, the attackers catapulted decomposing animals into the besieged area.

In 1422, during the siege of Karlstein Castle
Karlštejn
Karlštejn Castle is a large Gothic castle founded 1348 AD by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian/Czech coronation jewels, holy relics and other royal treasures...

 in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Hussite
Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

 attackers used catapults to throw dead (but not plague-infected) bodies and 2000 carriage-loads of dung over the walls.

The last known incident of using plague corpses for biological warfare occurred in 1710, when Russian forces attacked the Swedes
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 by flinging plague-infected corpses over the city walls of Reval (Tallinn). However, during the 1785 siege of La Calle
La Calle
El Kala is a seaport of Algeria, in El Tarf Province, 56 miles by rail east of Annaba and 10 miles west of the Tunisian frontier. It is the centre of the Algerian and Tunisian coral fisheries and has an extensive industry in the curing of sardines. The harbour is small and exposed to the...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

n forces flung diseased clothing into the city.

English Longbowmen
English longbow
The English longbow, also called the Welsh longbow, is a powerful type of medieval longbow about 6 ft long used by the English and Welsh for hunting and as a weapon in medieval warfare...

 usually did not draw their arrow
Arrow
An arrow is a shafted projectile that is shot with a bow. It predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.An arrow usually consists of a shaft with an arrowhead attached to the front end, with fletchings and a nock at the other.- History:...

s from a quiver
Quiver
A quiver is a container for arrows. Quivers have been traditionally made of leather, bark, wood, furs and other natural materials; modern quivers are often made of metal and plastic....

, rather, they stuck their arrows into the ground in front of them. This made nocking the arrows to the bow faster and the dirt and soil was likely to stick the arrowheads. Thus making the wounds that it made much more likely to infect
Infection
An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease...

.

18th century

North America
The Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 population was devastated after contact with the Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 due to the introduction of many different fatal diseases. There are two documented cases of alleged and attempted germ warfare. The first, during a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, 1763, Ecuyer gave representatives of the besieging Delawares two blankets and a handkerchief that had been exposed to smallpox, hoping to spread the disease to the Natives in order to end the siege. William Trent, the militia commander, left records that clearly indicated that the purpose of giving the blankets was "to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians."

British commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst and Swiss-British officer Colonel Henry Bouquet
Henry Bouquet
Henry Bouquet was a prominent British Army officer in the French and Indian War and Pontiac's War. Bouquet is best known for his victory over Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run, lifting the siege of Fort Pitt during Pontiac's War.-Early life:Bouquet was born into a moderately wealthy...

 certainly discussed this, in the course of Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Conspiracy, or Pontiac's Rebellion was a war that was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the...

; there still exists correspondence referencing the idea of giving smallpox-infected blankets to enemy Indians. Historian Francis Parkman verifies four letters from June 29, July 13, 16 and 26th, 1763. Excerpts: Commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst writes July 16, 1763, "P.S. You will Do well to try to Inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. I should be very glad your Scheme for Hunting them Down by Dogs could take Effect,..." Colonel Henry Bouquet replies July 26, 1763, "I received yesterday your Excellency's letters of 16th with their Inclosures. The signal for Indian Messengers, and all your directions will be observed."

While the intent of carrying out biological warfare is clear, there is debate among historians as to whether this actually took place despite Bouquet's affirmative reply to Amherst, and the continuing correspondence on the point. Smallpox is highly infectious and does not require contaminated blankets to spread uncontrollably, and together with measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, influenza, chicken pox, and so on. had been doing so since the arrival of Europeans and their animals. Historians have been unable to establish whether or not the Amherst plan was implemented, particularly in light of the fact that smallpox was already present in the region, and that scientific knowledge of disease at that time had yet to develop an understanding of infection vectors, nor in the case of smallpox a full acknowledgment of the protective effect of a cowpox infection.

Regardless of whether the plan was carried out, trade and combat provided ample opportunity for transmission of the disease. See also: Small pox during Pontiac's Rebellion.

The diseases that struck indigenous Americans can be traced to Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 where people had long lived with them and developed some immunological ability to survive their presence. Without similarly long ancestral exposure, indigenous Americans were immunologically naive and extremely vulnerable.

New South Wales

Australian aborigines (Kooris) have always maintained that the British deliberately spread smallpox in 1789, but this fact has only been apparent to historians from the 1980s when Dr Noel Butlin suggested; “there are some possibilities that ... disease could have been used deliberately as an exterminating agent”.

In 1997, David Day claimed there “remains considerable circumstantial evidence to suggest that officers other than Phillip
Arthur Phillip
Admiral Arthur Phillip RN was a British admiral and colonial administrator. Phillip was appointed Governor of New South Wales, the first European colony on the Australian continent, and was the founder of the settlement which is now the city of Sydney.-Early life and naval career:Arthur Phillip...

, or perhaps convicts or soldiers … deliberately spread smallpox among aborigines” and in 2000 Dr John Lambert argued that “strong circumstantial evidence suggests the smallpox epidemic which ravaged Aborigines in 1789, may have resulted from deliberate infection”.

These claims were controversial as it was argued that any smallpox virus brought to New South Wales would have been sterilised during the voyage of the First Fleet
First Fleet
The First Fleet is the name given to the eleven ships which sailed from Great Britain on 13 May 1787 with about 1,487 people, including 778 convicts , to establish the first European colony in Australia, in the region which Captain Cook had named New South Wales. The fleet was led by Captain ...

 from England and incapable of biological warfare. However, in 2007, Christopher Warren demonstrated conclusively that the British smallpox was still viable. Since then most scholars have recognized that the British committed biological warfare in 1789 near their new convict settlement at Port Jackson.

Some earlier writers, misunderstanding that British stocks of virus had been sterilised, proposed that the 1789 outbreak was caused by a hypothetical transmission from Macassar in Sulawesi. However the available records for smallpox in Macassar only show an outbreak in 1789, too late and inconvenient to be associated with the First Fleet outbreak.

19th century

In 1834, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 diarist Richard Henry Dana
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Richard Henry Dana Jr. was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts, a descendant of an eminent colonial family who gained renown as the author of the American classic, the memoir Two Years Before the Mast...

 visited San Francisco on a merchant ship. His ship traded many items including blankets with Mexicans and Russians who had established outposts on the northern side of the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

. Local histories document that the California plague epidemic began at the Russian fort soon after they left. It is possible that the blankets were the source of the contamination (hidden fleas, or rats, perhaps), but another possible source was a Chinese ship making port in San Francisco at the same time. Plague became established in California and has since become endemic throughout much of the North American West. Native rodents have suffered a severe population decline, only partly due to human eradication action.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, General Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 reported that Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 forces shot farm animals in ponds upon which the Union troops depended for drinking water. This would have made the water unpleasant to drink, though perhaps the death caused might not have been that desired. A Confederate doctor planned and may have carried out a bacteriological attack on Northern populations across the Canadian border.

Jack London
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

, in his story '"Yah! Yah! Yah!"', described a punitive European expedition to a South Pacific
Oceania
Oceania is a region centered on the islands of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Conceptions of what constitutes Oceania range from the coral atolls and volcanic islands of the South Pacific to the entire insular region between Asia and the Americas, including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago...

 island deliberately exposing the Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

n population to measles, of which many of them died. While much of the material for London's South Sea Tales is derived from his personal experience in the region, it is not known whether this particular incident is historical.

20th century

During the First World War, the Empire of Germany pursued an ambitious biological warfare program. Using diplomatic pouches and couriers, the German General Staff supplied small teams of saboteurs in the Russian Duchy of Finland, and in the then-neutral countries of Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

.

In Finland, saboteurs mounted on reindeer placed ampoules of anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

 in stables of Russian horses in 1916 . Anthrax was also supplied to the German military attaché
Military attaché
A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission . This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy...

 in Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

, as was glanders
Glanders
Glanders is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys. It can be contracted by other animals such as dogs, cats and goats...

, which was employed against livestock destined for Allied
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 service.

German intelligence officer
Intelligence officer
An intelligence officer is a person employed by an organization to collect, compile and/or analyze information which is of use to that organization...

 and US citizen Dr. Anton Casimir Dilger established a secret lab in the basement of his sister's home in Chevy Chase, Maryland
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Chevy Chase is the name of both a town and an unincorporated census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland. In addition, a number of villages in the same area of Montgomery County include "Chevy Chase" in their names...

, that produced glanders which was used to infect livestock in ports and inland collection points including, at least, Newport News
Newport News, Virginia
Newport News is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News...

, Norfolk
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

, Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, and New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, and probably St. Louis and Covington, Kentucky
Covington, Kentucky
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 43,370 people, 18,257 households, and 10,132 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,301.3 people per square mile . There were 20,448 housing units at an average density of 1,556.5 per square mile...

. In Argentina, German agents also employed glanders in the port of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and also tried to ruin wheat harvests with a destructive fungus.

The Geneva Protocol
Geneva Protocol
The Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, usually called the Geneva Protocol, is a treaty prohibiting the first use of chemical and biological weapons. It was signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925 and entered...

 of 1925 prohibited the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons, but said nothing about experimentation, production, storage, or transfer; later treaties did cover these aspects. Twentieth-century advances in microbiology enabled the first pure-culture biological agents to be developed by World War II.

The interwar period was a period of development by many nations, most notably the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

. Secret Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 Unit 731
Unit 731
was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese...

, based primarily at Pingfan in Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 commanded by Lieutenant General Shirō Ishii
Shiro Ishii
was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

, did research on BW, conducted often fatal human experiments
Human experimentation
Human subject research includes experiments and observational studies. Human subjects are commonly participants in research on basic biology, clinical medicine, nursing, psychology, and all other social sciences. Humans have been participants in research since the earliest studies...

 on prisoners, and produced biological weapons for combat use during the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

.

Biological experiments, often using twins with one subject to the procedure and the other as a control, were carried out by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 on concentration camp inmates, particularly by Joseph Mengele.

1937–1945
During the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Imperial Japanese Army made use of biological weapons against both Chinese soldiers and civilians in several military campaigns. Three veterans of Unit 731 testified, in a 1989 interview to the Asahi Shimbun
Asahi Shimbun
The is the second most circulated out of the five national newspapers in Japan. Its circulation, which was 7.96 million for its morning edition and 3.1 million for its evening edition as of June 2010, was second behind that of Yomiuri Shimbun...

, that they were part of a mission to contaminate the Horustein river with typhoid near the Soviet troops during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield...

. In 1940, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force bombed Ningbo
Ningbo
Ningbo is a seaport city of northeastern Zhejiang province, Eastern China. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, the municipality has a population of 7,605,700 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 3,089,180 in the built up area made of 6 urban districts. It lies south of the Hangzhou Bay,...

 with ceramic bombs full of flea
Flea
Flea is the common name for insects of the order Siphonaptera which are wingless insects with mouthparts adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood...

s carrying the bubonic plague. A film showing this operation was seen by the imperial princes Tsuneyoshi Takeda and Takahito Mikasa
Prince Mikasa
is a member of the Imperial House of Japan. He is the fourth and youngest son of Emperor Taishō and Empress Teimei. His eldest brother was Emperor Shōwa , and is the only surviving paternal uncle of Emperor Akihito. With the death of his sister-in-law, Princess Takamatsu , on 17 December 2004, he...

 during a screening made by mastermind Shiro Ishii. During the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials
Khabarovsk War Crime Trials were a series of hearings held between December 25 - 31st, 1949 in the Soviet Union's industrial city of Khabarovsk situated on the Russian Far East...

 the accused, such as Major General Kiyashi Kawashima, testified that as early as 1941 some 40 members of Unit 731 air-dropped plague-contaminated fleas on Changde
Changde
Changde is a city in the north of Hunan Province, China, with a population of 5,717,218 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,232,182 in the built up area made of 2 urban districts .-History:...

. These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks.

Many operations were ineffective due to inefficient delivery systems, using disease-bearing insects rather than dispersing the agent as an bioaerosol
Bioaerosol
A bioaerosol is a suspension of airborne particles that contain living organisms or were released from living organisms. These particles are very small and range in size from less than one micrometer to one hundred micrometers . Bioaerosols react to air currents and move quickly or slowly...

 cloud. Nevertheless, some modern Chinese historians estimate that 400,000 Chinese died as a direct result of Japanese field testing and operational use of biological weapons.

In 1943, following the Allied invasion at Anzio, German forces flooded The Pontine Marshes
Pontine Marshes
thumb|250px|Lake Fogliano, a coastal lagoon in the Pontine Plain.The Pontine Marshes, termed in Latin Pomptinus Ager by Titus Livius, Pomptina Palus and Pomptinae Paludes by Pliny the Elder, today the Agro Pontino in Italian, is an approximately quadrangular area of former marshland in the Lazio...

 to reintroduce Malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 to the area. Perhaps 100,000 cases of the disease were noted in the region in 1944 and 43,000 in 1945. German forces withheld medical care to the civilian population.

In response to biological weapons development in Japan, and at the time suspected in Nazi Germany, the United States, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 initiated a BW development programs in 1941 that resulted in the weaponization of tularemia
Tularemia
Tularemia is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. A Gram-negative, nonmotile coccobacillus, the bacterium has several subspecies with varying degrees of virulence. The most important of those is F...

, anthrax, brucellosis
Brucellosis
Brucellosis, also called Bang's disease, Crimean fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Maltese fever, Mediterranean fever, rock fever, or undulant fever, is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unsterilized milk or meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions...

, and botulism
Botulism
Botulism also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin which is metabolic waste produced under anaerobic conditions by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and affecting a wide range of mammals, birds and fish...

 toxin.

The center for United States military BW research was Fort Detrick, Maryland, where USAMRIID is currently based; the first director was pharmaceutical executive George W. Merck
George W. Merck
George Wilhelm Herman Emanuel Merck , was the president of Merck & Co. from 1925 to 1950.-Biography:Born in New York and raised in Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, he attended Harvard College, graduating in 1915. World War I prevented him from pursuing an advanced degree in Germany; instead, he joined...

. Some biological and chemical weapons research and testing was also conducted at Dugway Proving Ground
Dugway Proving Ground
Dugway Proving Ground is a US Army facility located approximately 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah in southern Tooele County and just north of Juab County...

s in Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

, at a munition manufacturing complex in Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute, Indiana
Terre Haute is a city and the county seat of Vigo County, Indiana, United States, near the state's western border with Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 60,785 and its metropolitan area had a population of 170,943. The city is the county seat of Vigo County and...

, and at a tract on Horn Island
Horn Island (Mississippi)
Horn Island is a long, thin barrier island off the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, south of Ocean Springs. It is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Horn Island is several miles long, but less than a mile wide at its widest point...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

.

Much of the British work was carried out at Porton Down. Field testing carried out in the United Kingdom during World War II left Gruinard island
Gruinard Island
Gruinard Island ) is a small, oval-shaped Scottish island approximately long by wide, located in Gruinard Bay, about halfway between Gairloch and Ullapool. At its closest point to the mainland it is just more than offshore...

 in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 contaminated with anthrax for the next 48 years.

1946 to 1972
During the 1948 Israel War of Independence, International Red Cross reports raised suspicion that the Jewish Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 militia had released Salmonella typhi bacteria into the water supply for the city of Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, causing an outbreak of typhoid among the inhabitants. Egyptian troops later claimed to have captured disguised Haganah soldiers near wells in Gaza
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, whom they executed for allegedly attempting another attack. Israel denies these allegations.

During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, US conscientious objectors were used as consenting test subjects for biological agents in a program known as Operation Whitecoat. There were also many unpublicized tests carried out on the public during the Cold War.

Considerable research on the topic was performed by the United States (see US Biological Weapon Testing), the Soviet Union, and probably other major nations throughout the Cold War era, though it is generally believed that biological weapons were never used after World War II. This view was challenged by China and North Korea, who accused the United States of germ warfare in the Korean War (1950–1953).

Cuba has also accused the United States of spreading human and animal disease on their island nation.

At the time of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 the United States had only weaponized one agent, brucellosis ("Agent US"), which is caused by Brucella suis. The original weaponized form used the M114 bursting bomblet in M33 cluster bombs.

While the specific form of the biological bomb was classified until some years after the Korean War, in the various exhibits of biological weapons that Korea alleged were dropped on their country nothing resembled an M114 bomb
M114 bomb
The M114 bomb was a four pound U.S. anti-personnel bomb and biological cluster bomb sub-munition. The M114 was used in the M33 cluster bomb.-History:...

let. There were ceramic containers that had some similarity to Japanese weapons used against the Chinese in World War II, developed by Unit 731.

Some of the Unit 731 personnel were imprisoned by the Soviets, and would have been a potential source of information on Japanese weaponization. The head of Unit 731, Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii, was granted immunity from war crimes prosecution in exchange for providing information to the United States on the Unit's activities.

The Korean War allegations also stressed the use of disease vectors, such as fleas, which, again, were probably a legacy of Japanese biological warfare efforts. The United States initiated its weaponization efforts with disease vectors in 1953, focused on Plague-fleas, EEE-mosquitoes, and yellow fever - mosquitoes (OJ-AP). However, US medical scientists in occupied Japan undertook extensive research on insect vectors, with the assistance of former Unit 731 staff, as early as 1946.

The United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 was not satisfied with the operational qualities of the M114/US and labeled it an interim item until the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 Chemical Corps could deliver a superior weapon. The Air Force also changed its plans and wanted lethal biologicals.

The Chemical Corps then initiated a crash program to weaponize anthrax (N) in the E61 1/2-lb hour-glass bomblet. Though the program was successful in meeting its development goals, the lack of validation on the infectivity of anthrax stalled standardization.

Around 1950 the Chemical Corps also initiated a program to weaponize tularemia (UL). Shortly after the E61/N failed to make standardization, tularemia was standardized in the 3.4" M143 bursting spherical bomblet
M143 bomblet
The M143 bomblet was a biological cluster bomb sub-munition developed by the United States during the 1960s. The spherical bomblet was the biological version of the Sarin-filled M139 chemical bomblet.-History:...

. This was intended for delivery by the MGM-29 Sergeant
MGM-29 Sergeant
The MGM-29 Sergeant was an American short-range, solid fuel, surface-to-surface missile developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Activated by the US Army in 1962 to replace the MGM-5 Corporal it was deployed overseas by 1963, carrying the W52 nuclear warhead or alternatively one of high explosives...

 missile warhead and could produce 50% infection over a 7 square miles (18.1 km²) area.

Unlike anthrax, tularemia had a demonstrated infectivity with human volunteers (Operation Whitecoat). Furthermore, although tularemia is treatable by antibiotics, treatment does not shorten the course of the disease.

In addition to the use of bursting bomblets for creating biological aerosols, the Chemical Corps started investigating aerosol-generating bomblets in the 1950s. The E99 was the first workable design, but was too complex to be manufactured. By the late 1950s the 4.5" E120 spraying spherical bomblet
E120 bomblet
The E120 bomblet was a biological cluster bomb sub-munition developed to disseminate a liquid biological agent. The E120 was developed by the United States in the early 1960s.-History:...

 was developed; a B-47 bomber with a SUU-24/A dispenser could infect 50% or more of the population of a 16 square miles (41.4 km²) area with tularemia with the E120. The E120 was later superseded by dry-type agents.

Dry-type biologicals resemble talcum powder, and can be disseminated as aerosols using gas expulsion devices instead of a burster or complex sprayer. The Chemical Corps developed Flettner rotor bomblet
Flettner rotor bomblet
The Flettner rotor bomblet was a U.S. biological sub-munition that was never mass-produced. Based on the vertical Flettner rotor which takes advantage of the Magnus effect, a force acting on a spinning body in a moving airstream, it was developed toward the end of the U.S...

s and later triangular bomblets for wider coverage due to improved glide angles over Magnus-lift spherical bomblets. Weapons of this type were in advanced development by the time the program ended.

United States President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 signed an executive order on November 1969, which stopped production of biological weapons in the United States and allowed only scientific research of lethal biological agents and defensive measures such as immunization
Immunization
Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent ....

 and biosafety
Biosafety
Biosafety: prevention of large-scale loss of biological integrity, focusing both on ecology and human health .Biosafety is related to several fields:*In ecology ,...

. The biological munition stockpiles were destroyed, and approximately 2,200 researchers became redundant.

United States Special Forces and the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 also had an interest in biological warfare, and a series of special munitions was created for their operations. The covert weapons developed for the military (M1, M2, M4, M5, and M32 - or Big Five Weapons
Big Five Weapons
The Big Five was a series of biological weapons developed by the United States Army Chemical Corps' Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick Biological Warfare Laboratory for use by special forces...

) were destroyed in accordance with Nixon's executive order to end the offensive program. The CIA maintained its collection of biologicals well into 1975 when it became the subject of the senate Church Committee
Church Committee
The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

.

The Biological Weapons Convention
In 1972, the United States signed the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention, which banned the "development, production and stockpiling of microbes or their poisonous products except in amounts necessary for protective and peaceful research." By 1996, 137 countries had signed the treaty; however it is believed that since the signing of the Convention the number of countries capable of producing such weapons has increased.

The Soviet Union continued research and production of offensive biological weapons in a program called Biopreparat, despite having signed the convention. The United States was unaware of the program until Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik defected in 1989, and Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, the first deputy director of Biopreparat defected in 1992.

During the closing stages of the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

, the Rhodesian government resorted to biological warfare. Watercourses at several sites close to the Mozambique border were deliberately contaminated with cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 and the toxin Sodium Coumadin, an anti-coagulant commonly used as the active ingredient in rat poison
Warfarin
Warfarin is an anticoagulant. It is most likely to be the drug popularly referred to as a "blood thinner," yet this is a misnomer, since it does not affect the thickness or viscosity of blood...

. Food stocks in the area were contaminated with anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

 spores. These biological attacks had little impact on the fighting capability of ZANLA, but caused considerable distress to the local population. Over 10,000 people contracted anthrax in the period 1978 to 1980, of whom 200 died. The facts about this episode became known during the hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission during the late 1990s.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, Iraq admitted to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 inspection team to having produced 19,000 liters of concentrated botulinum toxin, of which approximately 10,000 L were loaded into military weapons; the 19,000 liters have never been fully accounted for. This is approximately three times the amount needed to kill the entire current human population by inhalation,
although in practice it would be impossible to distribute it so efficiently, and, unless it is protected from oxygen, it deteriorates in storage.

On September 18, 2001 and for a few days after several letters were received by members of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 and media outlets containing anthrax spores: the attack killed five people. The identity of the perpetrator remained unknown until 2008, when a primary suspect was named. See 2001 anthrax attacks
2001 anthrax attacks
The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, also known as Amerithrax from its Federal Bureau of Investigation case name, occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on Tuesday, September 18, 2001, one week after the September 11 attacks. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to...

.

Offensive

It has been argued that rational people would never use biological weapons offensively. The argument is that biological weapons cannot be controlled: the weapon could backfire and harm the army on the offensive, perhaps having even worse effects than on the target. An agent like smallpox or other airborne viruses would almost certainly spread worldwide and ultimately infect the user's home country. However, this argument does not necessarily apply to bacteria. For example, anthrax can easily be controlled and even created in a garden shed. Also, using microbial methods, bacteria can be suitably modified to be effective in only a narrow environmental range, the range of the target that distinctly differs from the army on the offensive. thus only the target might be affected adversely.

Anti-personnel

Ideal characteristics of a biological agent to be used as a weapon against humans are high infectivity
Infectivity
In epidemiology, infectivity refers to the ability of a pathogen to establish an infection. More specifically, infectivity is a pathogen's capacity for horizontal transmission that is, how frequently it spreads among hosts that are not in a parent-child relationship...

, high virulence
Virulence
Virulence is by MeSH definition the degree of pathogenicity within a group or species of parasites as indicated by case fatality rates and/or the ability of the organism to invade the tissues of the host. The pathogenicity of an organism - its ability to cause disease - is determined by its...

, non-availability of vaccine
Vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe or its toxins...

s, and availability of an effective and efficient delivery system. Stability of the weaponized agent (ability of the agent to retain its infectivity and virulence after a prolonged period of storage) may also be desirable, particularly for military applications.

The primary difficulty is not the production of the biological agent, as many biological agents used in weapons can often be manufactured relatively quickly, cheaply and easily. Rather, it is the weaponization, storage and delivery in an effective vehicle to a vulnerable target that pose significant problems.

For example, Bacillus anthracis
Bacillus anthracis
Bacillus anthracis is the pathogen of the Anthrax acute disease. It is a Gram-positive, spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium, with a width of 1-1.2µm and a length of 3-5µm. It can be grown in an ordinary nutrient medium under aerobic or anaerobic conditions.It is one of few bacteria known to...

is considered an effective agent for several reasons. First, it forms hardy spore
Spore
In biology, a spore is a reproductive structure that is adapted for dispersal and surviving for extended periods of time in unfavorable conditions. Spores form part of the life cycles of many bacteria, plants, algae, fungi and some protozoa. According to scientist Dr...

s, perfect for dispersal aerosols. Second, this organism is not considered transmissible from person to person, and thus rarely if ever causes secondary infections. A pulmonary anthrax infection starts with ordinary influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

-like symptoms and progresses to a lethal hemorrhagic mediastinitis
Mediastinitis
Mediastinitis is inflammation of the tissues in the mid-chest, or mediastinum. It can be either acute or chronic.Acute mediastinitis is usually bacterial and due to rupture of organs in the mediastinum. As the infection can progress rapidly, this is considered a serious condition...

 within 3–7 days, with a fatality rate that is 90% or higher in untreated patients. Finally, friendly personnel can be protected with suitable antibiotic
Antibiotic
An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria.The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of...

s.

A large-scale attack using anthrax would require the creation of aerosol particles of 1.5 to 5 microns
Micrometre
A micrometer , is by definition 1×10-6 of a meter .In plain English, it means one-millionth of a meter . Its unit symbol in the International System of Units is μm...

. Too large and the particles would not reach the lower respiratory tract. Too small and the particles would be exhaled back out into the atmosphere. At this size, conductive powders tend to aggregate because of electrostatic charges
Electric charge
Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. Electric charge comes in two types, called positive and negative. Two positively charged substances, or objects, experience a mutual repulsive force, as do two...

, hindering dispersion. So the material must be treated to insulate and neutralize the charges. The weaponized agent must be resistant to degradation by rain and ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, while retaining the ability to efficiently infect the human lung. There are other technological difficulties as well, chiefly relating to storage of the weaponized agent.

Agents considered for weaponization, or known to be weaponized, include bacteria such as Bacillus anthracis, Brucella
Brucella
Brucella is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. They are small , non-motile, non-encapsulated coccobacilli, which function as facultative intracellular parasites....

 spp.
, Burkholderia mallei
Burkholderia mallei
Burkholderia mallei is a gram-negative bipolar aerobic bacterium, a Burkholderia-genus human and animal pathogen causing Glanders; the Latin name of this disease gave name to the causative agent species...

, Burkholderia pseudomallei
Burkholderia pseudomallei
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative, bipolar, aerobic, motile rod-shaped bacterium. It infects humans and animals and causes the disease melioidosis. It is also capable of infecting plants....

, Chlamydophila psittaci
Chlamydophila psittaci
Chlamydophila psittaci is a lethal intracellular bacterial species that may cause endemic avian chlamydiosis, epizootic outbreaks in mammals, and respiratory psittacosis in humans. Chlamydophila psittaci is transmitted by inhalation, contact or ingestion among birds and to mammals...

, Coxiella burnetii
Coxiella burnetii
Coxiella burnetii is an obligate intracellular bacterial pathogen, and is the causative agent of Q fever. The genus Coxiella is morphologically similar to Rickettsia, but with a variety of genetic and physiological differences. C...

, Francisella tularensis
Francisella tularensis
Francisella tularensis is a pathogenic species of gram-negative bacteria and the causative agent of tularemia or rabbit fever. It is a facultative intracellular bacterium....

, some of the Rickettsiaceae
Rickettsiaceae
The Rickettsiaceae are a family of bacteria, including most notably the genus Rickettsia.Most human pathogens are in genus Rickettsia. They spend part of their life cycle in the bodies of arthropods such as ticks or lice, and are then transmitted to humans or other mammals by the bite of the...

 (especially Rickettsia prowazekii
Rickettsia prowazekii
Rickettsia prowazekii is a species of gram negative, Alpha Proteobacteria, obligate intracellular parasitic, aerobic bacteria that is the etiologic agent of epidemic typhus, transmitted in the feces of lice. In North America, the main reservoir for R. prowazekii is the flying squirrel. R...

and Rickettsia rickettsii
Rickettsia rickettsii
Rickettsia rickettsii is a unicellular, gram-negative coccobacillus that is native to the New World. It belongs to the spotted fever group of Rickettsia and is most commonly known as the causative agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever . By nature, R...

), Shigella
Shigella
Shigella is a genus of Gram-negative, nonspore forming, non-motile, rod-shaped bacteria closely related to Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The causative agent of human shigellosis, Shigella causes disease in primates, but not in other mammals. It is only naturally found in humans and apes. During...

 spp.
, Vibrio cholerae
Vibrio cholerae
Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative, comma-shaped bacterium. Some strains of V. cholerae cause the disease cholera. V. cholerae is facultatively anaerobic and has a flagella at one cell pole. V...

, and Yersinia pestis
Yersinia pestis
Yersinia pestis is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. It is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other animals....

. Many viral agents have been studied and/or weaponized, including some of the Bunyaviridae
Bunyaviridae
Bunyaviridae is a family of negative-stranded RNA viruses. Though generally found in arthropods or rodents, certain viruses in this family occasionally infect humans. Some of them also infect plants....

 (especially Rift Valley fever virus
Rift Valley fever
Rift Valley Fever is a viral zoonosis causing fever. It is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, typically the Aedes or Culex genera. The disease is caused by the RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus...

), Ebola
Ebola
Ebola virus disease is the name for the human disease which may be caused by any of the four known ebolaviruses. These four viruses are: Bundibugyo virus , Ebola virus , Sudan virus , and Taï Forest virus...

virus, many of the Flaviviridae
Flaviviridae
The Flaviviridae are a family of viruses that are primarily spread through arthropod vectors . The family gets its name from Yellow Fever virus, a type virus of Flaviviridae; flavus means yellow in Latin...

 (especially Japanese encephalitis virus
Japanese Encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis —previously known as Japanese B encephalitis to distinguish it from von Economo's A encephalitis—is a disease caused by the mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis virus. The Japanese encephalitis virus is a virus from the family Flaviviridae. Domestic pigs and wild birds are...

), Machupo virus
Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
Bolivian hemorrhagic fever , also known as black typhus or Ordog Fever, is a hemorrhagic fever and zoonotic infectious disease originating in Bolivia after infection by Machupo virus....

, Marburg virus
Marburg virus
Marburg virus disease is the name for the human disease caused by any of the two marburgviruses Marburg virus and Ravn virus...

, Variola virus, and Yellow fever virus
Yellow fever
Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease. The virus is a 40 to 50 nm enveloped RNA virus with positive sense of the Flaviviridae family....

. Fungal agents that have been studied include Coccidioides
Coccidioides
Coccidioides is a genus of dimorphic ascomycete, cause of Coccidioidomycosis, also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever, an infectious fungal disease confined to the western hemisphere and endemic in American deserts...

 spp.
.

Toxins that can be used as weapons include ricin
Ricin
Ricin , from the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein. A dose as small as a few grains of salt can kill an adult. The LD50 of ricin is around 22 micrograms per kilogram Ricin , from the castor oil plant Ricinus communis, is a highly toxic, naturally...

, staphylococcal enterotoxin B
Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B
Staphylococcal enterotoxin B is an enterotoxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It is a common cause of food poisoning, with severe diarrhea, nausea and intestinal cramping often starting within a few hours of ingestion.. Being quite stable, the toxin may remain active even after...

, botulinum toxin
Botulinum toxin
Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and is considered the most powerful neurotoxin ever discovered. Botulinum toxin causes Botulism poisoning, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals...

, saxitoxin
Saxitoxin
Saxitoxin is a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain species of marine dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria Saxitoxin (STX) is a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain species of marine dinoflagellates (Alexandrium sp., Gymnodinium sp., Pyrodinium sp.) and cyanobacteria Saxitoxin (STX) is a...

, and many mycotoxin
Mycotoxin
A mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by organisms of the fungus kingdom, commonly known as molds. The term ‘mycotoxin’ is usually reserved for the toxic chemical products produced by fungi that readily colonize crops...

s. These toxins and the organisms that produce them are sometimes referred to as select agent
Select agent
In United States law, Select Agents are pathogens or biological toxins which have been declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have the "potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety"...

s. In the United States, their possession, use, and transfer are regulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

's Select Agent Program.

Anti-agriculture Anti-Fisheries

Anti-crop/anti-vegetation/anti-fisheries:

Biological warfare can also specifically target plants to destroy crops or defoliate vegetation. The United States and Britain discovered plant growth regulators (i.e., herbicides) during the Second World War, and initiated an herbicidal warfare
Herbicidal warfare
Herbicidal warfare is a form of Chemical warfare in which the objective is to destroy the plant-based ecosystem of an area. In contrast to other forms, its use is not prohibited by international agreement...

 program that was eventually used in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 and Vietnam
Agent Orange
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth...

 in counter insurgency. Though herbicides are chemicals, they are often grouped with biological warfare as bioregulators in a similar manner as biotoxins. Scorched earth tactics or destroying livestock and farmland were carried out in the Vietnam war (cf. Agent Orange) and Eelam War
Sri Lankan civil war
The Sri Lankan Civil War was a conflict fought on the island of Sri Lanka. Beginning on July 23, 1983, there was an on-and-off insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam , a separatist militant organization which fought to create an independent Tamil state named Tamil...

 in Sri Lanka.

The United States developed an anti-crop capability during the Cold War that used plant diseases (bioherbicide
Bioherbicide
A bioherbicide is a biologically based control agent for weeds. Among the three major types of pesticides herbicides are used to control weeds, or undesirable plants. A bioherbicide is a biologically based control agent for weeds. Among the three major types of pesticides (agricultural...

s, or mycoherbicide
Mycoherbicide
-In the United States:In the United State House of Representatives, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 passed with the inclusion of language to initiate research into the use of mycoherbicides against drug crops in foreign countries. In particular, the U.S...

s) for destroying enemy agriculture. It was believed that destruction of enemy agriculture on a strategic scale could thwart Sino-Soviet
Sino-Soviet relations
Sino-Soviet relations refers to the diplomatic relationship between China and the various forms of Soviet Power which emerged from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to 1991, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist.-Russian Civil War and Mongolia:...

 aggression in a general war. Diseases such as wheat blast and rice blast were weaponized in aerial spray tanks and cluster bombs for delivery to enemy watersheds in agricultural regions to initiate epiphytotics (epidemics among plants). When the United States renounced its offensive biological warfare program in 1969 and 1970, the vast majority of its biological arsenal was composed of these plant diseases.

Biological weapons also target fisheries as well as water-based vegetation.

Anti-livestock:

In 1980s Soviet Ministry of Agriculture had successfully developed variants of foot-and-mouth disease
Foot-and-mouth disease
Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids...

, and rinderpest
Rinderpest
Rinderpest was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic buffalo, and some other species of even-toed ungulates, including buffaloes, large antelopes and deer, giraffes, wildebeests and warthogs. After a global eradication campaign, the last confirmed case of rinderpest was diagnosed in 2001...

 against cows, African swine fever for pig
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

s, and psittacosis
Psittacosis
In medicine , psittacosis — also known as parrot disease, parrot fever, and ornithosis — is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Chlamydophila psittaci and contracted from parrots, such as macaws, cockatiels and budgerigars, and pigeons, sparrows, ducks, hens, gulls and many...

 to kill chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

. These agents were prepared to spray them down from tanks attached to airplanes over hundreds of miles. The secret program was code-named "Ecology".

Attacking animals is another area of biological warfare intended to eliminate animal resources for transportation and food. In the First World War, German agents were arrested attempting to inoculate draft animals with anthrax, and they were believed to be responsible for outbreaks of glanders
Glanders
Glanders is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys. It can be contracted by other animals such as dogs, cats and goats...

 in horses and mules. The British tainted small feed cakes with anthrax in the Second World War as a potential means of attacking German cattle for food denial, but never employed the weapon. In the 1950s, the United States had a field trial with hog cholera. During the Mau Mau Uprising
Mau Mau Uprising
The Mau Mau Uprising was a military conflict that took place in Kenya between 1952 and 1960...

 in 1952, the poisonous latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 of the African milk bush
Euphorbia grantii
Euphorbia grantii is a species of succulent plant in the Euphorbiaceae family. The specific epithet is in honor of explorer James Augustus Grant. It was originally described by Daniel Oliver in 1875. The plant has the common name of African milk bush...

 was used to kill cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

.

Unconnected with inter-human wars, humans have deliberately introduced the rabbit disease Myxomatosis
Myxomatosis
Myxomatosis is a disease that affects rabbits and is caused by the Myxoma virus. It was first observed in Uruguay in laboratory rabbits in the late 19th century. It was introduced into Australia in 1950 in an attempt to control the rabbit population...

, originating in South America, to Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and Europe, with the intention of reducing the rabbit population - which had devastating but temporary results, with wild rabbit populations reduced to a fraction of their former size but survivors developing immunity and increasing again.

Entomological warfare

Entomological warfare (EW) is a type of BW that uses insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s to attack the enemy. The concept has existed for centuries and research and development have continued into the modern era. EW has been used in battle by Japan and several other nations have developed and been accused of using an entomological warfare program. EW may employ insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s in a direct attack or as vectors to deliver a biological agent
Biological agent
A biological agent — also called bio-agent or biological threat agent — is a bacterium, virus, prion, or fungus which may cause infection, allergy, toxicity or otherwise create a hazard to human health. They can be used as a biological weapon in bioterrorism or biological warfare...

, such as plague or cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

. Essentially, EW exists in three varieties. One type of EW involves infecting insects with a pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

 and then dispersing the insects over target areas. The insects then act as a vector, infecting any person or animal they might bite. Another type of EW is a direct insect attack against crops; the insect may not be infected with any pathogen but instead represents a threat to agriculture. The final method uses uninfected insects, such as bees, to directly attack the enemy.

Recent Developments in Biological Warfare

Recent research in genetics, specifically, expanding the set of bases found in DNA (A, C, G, T) and RNA (A, C, G, U) from four; expanding the set of codons (due to the expanded base set, as well as 3-base codons, to 4- and 5-base codons); and expanding the set of amino acids incorporated into polypeptides (see genetic code
Genetic code
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material is translated into proteins by living cells....

, proteomics
Proteomics
Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions. Proteins are vital parts of living organisms, as they are the main components of the physiological metabolic pathways of cells. The term "proteomics" was first coined in 1997 to make an analogy with...

), extends the new field of synthetic biology to synthetic biological warfare.

Role of public health and disease surveillance

It is important to note that all of the classical and modern biological weapons organisms are animal diseases, the only exception being smallpox. Thus, in any use of biological weapons, it is highly likely that animals will become ill either simultaneously with, or perhaps earlier than humans.

Indeed, in the largest biological weapons accident known– the anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of Russia, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District with a population of 1,350,136 , making it Russia's...

) in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1979, sheep became ill with anthrax as far as 200 kilometers from the release point of the organism from a military facility in the southeastern portion of the city (known as Compound 19 and still off limits to visitors today, see Sverdlovsk Anthrax leak
Sverdlovsk anthrax leak
The Sverdlovsk anthrax leak is an incident when spores of anthrax were accidentally released from a military facility in the city of Sverdlovsk 1450 km east of Moscow on April 2, 1979. This accident is sometimes called "biological Chernobyl"...

).

Thus, a robust surveillance system involving human clinicians and veterinarians may identify a bioweapons attack early in the course of an epidemic, permitting the prophylaxis of disease in the vast majority of people (and/or animals) exposed but not yet ill.

For example in the case of anthrax, it is likely that by 24 – 36 hours after an attack, some small percentage of individuals (those with compromised immune system or who had received a large dose of the organism due to proximity to the release point) will become ill with classical symptoms and signs (including a virtually unique chest X-ray
Chest X-ray
In medicine, a chest radiograph, commonly called a chest X-ray , is a projection radiograph of the chest used to diagnose conditions affecting the chest, its contents, and nearby structures...

 finding, often recognized by public health officials if they receive timely reports). By making these data available to local public health officials in real time, most models of anthrax epidemics indicate that more than 80% of an exposed population can receive antibiotic treatment before becoming symptomatic, and thus avoid the moderately high mortality of the disease.

Identification of bioweapons

The goal of biodefense
Biodefense
Biodefense refers to short term, local, usually military measures to restore biosecurity to a given group of persons in a given area who are, or may be, subject to biological warfare— in the civilian terminology, it is a very robust biohazard response. It is technically possible to apply...

 is to integrate the sustained efforts of the national and homeland security, medical, public health, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement communities. Health care providers and public health officers are among the first lines of defense. In some countries private, local, and provincial (state) capabilities are being augmented by and coordinated with federal assets, to provide layered defenses against biological weapons attacks. During the first Gulf War the United Nations activated a biological and chemical response team, Task Force Scorpio
Task Force Scorpio
Task Force Scorpio was a United Nations biological and chemical response team that was activated during the first Gulf War to respond to any potential use of weapons of mass destruction on civilians...

, to respond to any potential use of weapons of mass destruction on civilians.

The traditional approach toward protecting agriculture, food, and water: focusing on the natural or unintentional introduction of a disease is being strengthened by focused efforts to address current and anticipated future biological weapons threats that may be deliberate, multiple, and repetitive.

The growing threat of biowarfare agents and bioterrorism has led to the development of specific field tools that perform on-the-spot analysis and identification of encountered suspect materials. One such technology, being developed by researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory , just outside Livermore, California, is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center founded by the University of California in 1952...

 (LLNL), employs a "sandwich immunoassay", in which fluorescent dye-labeled antibodies aimed at specific pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s are attached to silver and gold nanowires.

In the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the company TNO
Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek or TNO is a not-for-profit organization in the Netherlands that focuses on applied science. The main office of TNO is located in Delft...

 has designed Bioaerosol Single Particle Recognition eQuipment (BiosparQ). This system would be implemented into the national response plan for bioweapons attacks in the Netherlands.

Researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel are developing a different device called the BioPen, essentially a "Lab-in-a-Pen", which can detect known biological agents in under 20 minutes using an adaptation of the ELISA
ELISA
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay , is a popular format of a "wet-lab" type analytic biochemistry assay that uses one sub-type of heterogeneous, solid-phase enzyme immunoassay to detect the presence of a substance in a liquid sample."Wet lab" analytic biochemistry assays involves detection of an...

, a similar widely employed immunological technique, that in this case incorporates fiber optics.

Synthetic Biological Warfare

Microbes that are composed of synthetic or artificial components, such as DNA or RNA or codons or amino acids can be tailored for use as biological warfare agents. As examples, if DNA used xDNA
XDNA
xDNA is a modified form of DNA with 8 nucleobases: the four natural bases A, C, G, and T, and four artificial modifications of these made longer by the addition of an extra benzene ring: xA, xC, xG, and xT. A pairs with xT, C pairs with xG, G pairs with xC, and T pairs with xA, so the distance...

 were to be coupled with synthetic codons, with synthetic anti-codons, etc. then such microbes used as biological warfare agents would be synthetic biological warfare agents.

List of BW institutions, programs, projects and sites by country

According to the United States Office of Technology Assessment
Office of Technology Assessment
The Office of Technology Assessment was an office of the United States Congress from 1972 to 1995. OTA's purpose was to provide Congressional members and committees with objective and authoritative analysis of the complex scientific and technical issues of the late 20th century, i.e. technology...

, since disbanded, 17 countries were believed to possess biological weapons in 1995: Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

United States

  • Fort Detrick
    Fort Detrick
    Fort Detrick is a U.S. Army Medical Command installation located in Frederick, Maryland, USA. Historically, Fort Detrick was the center for the United States' biological weapons program ....

    , Maryland
    • U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories
      United States Army Biological Warfare Laboratories
      The U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories were a suite of research laboratories and pilot plant centers operating at Camp Detrick, Maryland, USA beginning in 1943 under the control of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Research and Development Command...

       (1943–69)
      • Building 470
        Building 470
        Building 470, called the “Pilot Plant” or sometimes “Anthrax Tower”, was a notorious seven-story steel and brick building at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, USA, used in the small-scale production of biological warfare agents...

      • One-Million-Liter Test Sphere
        One-Million-Liter Test Sphere
        The One-Million-Liter Test Sphere — also known as the Test Sphere, the Horton Test Sphere, the Cloud Study Chamber, Building 527, and the “Eight Ball” — is a decommissioned biological warfare chamber and testing facility located on Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA. It was constructed and utilized by...

      • Operation Whitecoat
        Operation Whitecoat
        Operation Whitecoat was the name given to a medical research program carried out by the US Army at Fort Detrick, Maryland during the period 1954–1973. The program involved conducting medical research using volunteer enlisted personnel who eventually became nicknamed "White Coats"...

         (1954–73)
    • United States Army Medical Unit
      United States Army Medical Unit
      The United States Army Medical Unit — a now defunct medical research unit for biodefense — was at Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA. In contrast to the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories , also at Fort Detrick, the USAMU's mission was purely to develop defensive measures against bio-agents, as...

       (1956–69)
    • U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
      United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
      The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is the U.S Army’s main institution and facility for defensive research into countermeasures against biological warfare. It is located on Fort Detrick, Maryland and is a subordinate lab of the U. S...

       (USAMRIID; 1969–present)
    • U.S. entomological warfare program
      • Operation Big Itch
        Operation Big Itch
        Operation Big Itch was a U.S. entomological warfare field test using uninfected fleas to determine their coverage and survivability as a vector for biological agents. The tests were conducted at Dugway Proving Ground in 1954.-Operation:...

      • Operation Big Buzz
        Operation Big Buzz
        Operation Big Buzz was a U.S. military entomological warfare field test conducted in the U.S. state of Georgia in 1955. The tests involved dispersing over 300,000 yellow fever mosquitoes from aircraft and through ground dispersal methods.-Operation:...

      • Operation Drop Kick
        Operation Drop Kick
        Operation Drop Kick was a 1956 U.S. entomological warfare field testing program that deployed Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to carry a biological warfare agent...

      • Operation May Day
        Operation May Day
        Operation May Day was a series of entomological warfare tests conducted by the U.S. military in Savannah, Georgia in 1956.-Operation:Operation May Day involved a series of EW tests from April to November 1956. The tests were designed to reveal information about the dispersal of yellow fever...

    • National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
      National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
      The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center is a government biodefense research laboratory created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and located at the sprawling biodefense campus at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD, USA. Created quietly a few months after the 2001 anthrax...

       (NBACC; Projected: 2008)
  • Project Bacchus
    Project Bacchus
    Project Bacchus was a covert investigation by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency US Defense Department to determine whether it is possible to construct a bioweapons production facility with off-the-shelf equipment.-Revelation to the public:...

  • Project Clear Vision
    Project Clear Vision
    Project Clear Vision was a covert investigation of Soviet-built biological bomblets conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute under contract with the CIA. The legality of this project under the Biological Weapons Convention is highly disputed....

  • Project SHAD
    Project SHAD
    Project SHAD stands for Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, a series of Cold War-era tests by the United States Department of Defense of biological weapons and chemical weapons...

  • Project 112
    Project 112
    Project 112 was a biological and chemical weapons experimentation project conducted by the US Army from 1962 to 1973. The project started under John F. Kennedy's administration, and was authorized by his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, as part of a total review of the US military. The name...

  • Horn Island Testing Station
  • Fort Terry
    Fort Terry
    Fort Terry was a coastal fortification on Plum Island, a small island just off Orient Point, New York, USA. This strategic position afforded it a commanding view over the Atlantic entrance to the commercially vital Long Island Sound. It was established in 1897 and used intermittently through the...

  • Granite Peak Installation
    Granite Peak Installation
    Granite Peak Installation , also known as Granite Peak Range, was a U.S. biological weapons testing facility located on of Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. GPI was a sub-installation of Dugway but had its own facilities, including utilities...


United Kingdom

  • Porton Down
    Porton Down
    Porton Down is a United Kingdom government and military science park. It is situated slightly northeast of Porton near Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. To the northwest lies the MoD Boscombe Down test range facility which is operated by QinetiQ...

  • Gruinard Island
    Gruinard Island
    Gruinard Island ) is a small, oval-shaped Scottish island approximately long by wide, located in Gruinard Bay, about halfway between Gairloch and Ullapool. At its closest point to the mainland it is just more than offshore...

  • Nancekuke
    RRH Portreath
    RRH Portreath is a Remote Radar Head operated by the Royal Air Force. It is situated at Nancekuke Common on the clifftops to the north of Portreath beach and southwest of Porthtowan in Cornwall...

  • Operation Cauldron
    Operation Cauldron
    Operation Cauldron was a series of secret biological warfare trials undertaken by the British government in 1952. Scientists from Porton Down and the Royal Navy were involved in releasing biological agents, including pneumonic and bubonic plague and brucellosis and testing the effects of the...

  • Operation Vegetarian
    Operation Vegetarian
    Operation Vegetarian was a British military plan in 1942 to disseminate linseed cakes infected with anthrax spores onto the fields of Germany. These cakes would have been eaten by the cattle, which would then be consumed by the civilian population, causing the deaths of millions of German citizens...


Soviet Union and Russia

  • Biopreparat
    Biopreparat
    Biopreparat was the Soviet Union's major biological warfare agency from the 1970s on. It was a vast network of secret laboratories, each focused on a different deadly agent...

     (18 labs and production centers)
    • Stepnagorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology
      Stepnagorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology
      The Stepnagorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology, also known as the Scientific Experimental and Production Base, was one of the premier biological warfare facilities operated by the Soviet Union. It was the only Biopreparat facility to be built outside of Russia proper, and one...

      , Stepnogorsk
      Stepnogorsk
      Stepnogorsk is a town in Akmola Province, Kazakhstan. It was established in 1959, and has been a town since 1964. It is located about 200km North-East of Astana. It was first established as a secret town with code names Tselinograd-25 , Makinsk-2 . The town is known as a nuclear and biochemical site...

      , northern Kazakhstan
      Kazakhstan
      Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

    • Institute of Ultra Pure Biochemical Preparations
      Vladimir Pasechnik
      Vladimir Pasechnik was a senior Soviet biologist and bioweaponeer who defected to the UK in 1989, alerting Western intelligence to the vast scope of Moscow's clandestine biological warfare program, known as Biopreparat...

      , Leningrad
      Leningrad
      Leningrad is the former name of Saint Petersburg, Russia.Leningrad may also refer to:- Places :* Leningrad Oblast, a federal subject of Russia, around Saint Petersburg* Leningrad, Tajikistan, capital of Muminobod district in Khatlon Province...

      , a weaponized plague center
    • Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR), a weaponized smallpox center
    • Institute of Applied Biochemistry, Omutninsk
      Omutninsk
      Omutninsk is a town and the administrative center of Omutninsky District of Kirov Oblast, Russia. Population: It was first mentioned in 1773; town status was granted to it in 1921.The Institute of Applied Biochemistry is situated near Omutninsk...

    • Kirov bioweapons production facility, Kirov, Kirov Oblast
      Kirov, Kirov Oblast
      Kirov , formerly known as Vyatka and Khlynov, is a city in northeastern European Russia, on the Vyatka River, and the administrative center of Kirov Oblast. Population: -History:...

    • Zagorsk smallpox production facility, Zagorsk
    • Berdsk bioweapons production facility, Berdsk
      Berdsk
      Berdsk is a town in Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia, a satellite of Novosibirsk, situated on a bank of the Berd River. Population: It was founded in 1716 as a fortress. Town status was granted to it in 1944...

    • Bioweapons research facility, Obolensk
    • Sverdlovsk bioweapons production facility
      Sverdlovsk anthrax leak
      The Sverdlovsk anthrax leak is an incident when spores of anthrax were accidentally released from a military facility in the city of Sverdlovsk 1450 km east of Moscow on April 2, 1979. This accident is sometimes called "biological Chernobyl"...

       (Military Compound 19), Sverdlovsk
      Sverdlovsk
      Sverdlovsk is a city in Luhansk Oblast of south-eastern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of Sverdlovskyi Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast, and is located approximately 80 km from the oblast capital, Luhansk.The current estimated...

      , a weaponized anthrax center

  • Institute of Virus Preparations
    Institute of Virus Preparations
    The Institute of Virus Preparations was an agency of the former Soviet Union.It was the equivalent to the Centers for Disease Control and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases , founded by Kent Truslow...

  • Poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services
    Poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services
    Poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services, alternatively known as Laboratory 1, Laboratory 12, and Kamera which means "The Chamber" in Russian, was a covert research and development facility of the Soviet secret police agencies,which notably also developed antidotes and internal...

  • Vozrozhdeniya
    Vozrozhdeniya
    Vozrozhdeniya, also known as Rebirth Island , was a former island of the Aral Sea or South Aral Sea. Due to the ongoing shrinkage of the Aral, it became first a peninsula in mid-2001 and finally part of the mainland. Since the disappearance of the Southeast Aral in 2008, Vozrozhdeniya effectively...

  • Project Bonfire
  • Project Factor

Japan

  • Unit 731
    Unit 731
    was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese...

  • Zhongma Fortress
    Zhongma Fortress
    Zhongma Fortress, or Unit Tōgō, was a biological warfare research facility erected by the Japanese Kwantung Army in Beiyinhe, outside of Harbin, Manchukuo during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Background:...

  • Unit 100
    Unit 100
    Unit 100 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police...

  • Unit 2646
    Unit 2646
    Unit 2646 was a secret Imperial Japanese Army facility that focused on the development of biological weapons during World War II. It was operated by the Kempeitai, the Japanese military police in Hailar....

  • Unit 8604
    Unit 8604
    Unit 8604 or Nami Unit was a secret military medical unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that researched biological warfare and other topics through human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II era...

  • Unit Ei 1644
    Unit Ei 1644
    Unit Ei 1644 , also known as Unit 1644, was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II...


Iraq

Main articles: Iraqi biological weapons program
Iraqi biological weapons program
Saddam Hussein initiated an extensive biological weapons program in Iraq in the early 1980s, in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972...

and Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
During the regime of Saddam Hussein, the nation of Iraq used, possessed, and made efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction . Hussein was internationally known for his use of chemical weapons in the 1980s against Iranian and Kurdish civilians during and after the Iran–Iraq War...

 
(passim)
  • Al Hakum
    Al Hakum (Iraq)
    Al Hakum — also spelled Al Hakm, Al Hakem or Al Hakam — was at one time Iraq's most sophisticated and largest biological weapons production factory. The facility was part of a large military complex at Jurf Al Sakhar , about 60-70 kilometers southwest of Baghdad, near al-Musayyib...

  • Salman Pak facility
    Salman Pak facility
    The Salman Pak, or al-Salman, facility is an Iraqi military facility near Baghdad. At one time, it was a key center of Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons programs.-Background:...

  • Al Manal facility

South Africa

  • Project Coast
    Project Coast
    Project Coast was a top-secret chemical and biological weapons program instituted by the South African government during the apartheid era. Project Coast was the successor to a limited post-war CBW program which mainly produced the lethal agents CX powder and mustard gas; as well as non-lethal...

  • Delta G Scientific Company
    Delta G Scientific Company
    Delta G Scientific Company was originally a front company established April 1982 in Weldegraan by the South African Defence Force to research and produce chemical weapons within a covert operation known as Project Coast....

  • Roodeplaat Research Laboratories
    Roodeplaat Research Laboratories
    Roodeplaat Research Laboratories was a front company established in 1983 by the South African Defence Force to research, test and produce biological weapons within a covert operation known as Project Coast....

  • Protechnik
    Protechnik
    Protechnik was a front company established on 24 June 1987 by the South African Defence Force to perform quality assurance testing of chemical protective materials and equipment within a covert operation known as Project Coast.Founded by Dr...


List of people associated with BW

Bioweaponeers:
  • Anton Dilger
    Anton Dilger
    Anton Casimir Dilger was a German-American physician and the main proponent of the German biological warfare sabotage program during World War I...

  • Ira Baldwin
    Ira Baldwin
    Ira L. Baldwin was the founder and director emeritus of the Wisconsin Academy Foundation. He began teaching bacteriology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he had done his doctoral work, in 1927, and a few years later moved into what became a long career in administration...

  • Joshua Lederberg
    Joshua Lederberg
    Joshua Lederberg ForMemRS was an American molecular biologist known for his work in microbial genetics, artificial intelligence, and the United States space program. He was just 33 years old when he won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that bacteria can mate and...

  • Paul Fildes
    Paul Fildes
    Sir Paul Gordon Fildes OBE FRS was a British pathologist and microbiologist who worked at Porton Down during the Second World War....

  • Rihab Rashid Taha
  • William C. Patrick III
    William C. Patrick III
    William C. Patrick III was an influential microbiologist and bioweaponeer for the U.S. Army during the Cold War.Patrick headed the American offensive biological warfare program at Fort Detrick, MD beginning in 1951...

  • Kanatjan Alibekov, known as Ken Alibek
  • Vladimir Pasechnik
    Vladimir Pasechnik
    Vladimir Pasechnik was a senior Soviet biologist and bioweaponeer who defected to the UK in 1989, alerting Western intelligence to the vast scope of Moscow's clandestine biological warfare program, known as Biopreparat...

  • Sergei Popov
    Sergei Popov (bioweaponeer)
    Sergei Popov is a scientist and bioweaponeer formerly in the Soviet biological weapons program.He defected to the West in 1992 and now lives and works in the United States.-Biography:...

  • Kurt Blome
    Kurt Blome
    Kurt Blome was a high-ranking Nazi scientist before and during World War II. He was the Deputy Reich Health Leader and Plenipotentiary for Cancer Research in the Reich Research Council...

  • Eugen von Haagen
  • Kurt Gutzeit
  • Erich Traub
    Erich Traub
    Erich Traub was a German veterinarian and scientist/virologist who specialized in foot-and-mouth disease, Rinderpest and Newcastle disease. Traub was a member of the National Socialist Motor Corps , a Nazi motorist corps, from 1938–1942...

  • Shiro Ishii
    Shiro Ishii
    was a Japanese microbiologist and the lieutenant general of Unit 731, a biological warfare unit of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for human experimentation and war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.-Early years:...

  • Arthur Galston
    Arthur Galston
    Arthur W. Galston was an American botanist and bioethicist who, as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, discovered the defoliant properties of a chemical that was subsequently studied and utilized by the United States Army. His research and 1943 Ph.D. dissertation were focused on...

     (unwittingly)


Writers and activists:
  • Michael Crichton
    Michael Crichton
    John Michael Crichton , best known as Michael Crichton, was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted...

     ("Andromeda Strain", book and film)
  • Matthew Meselson
    Matthew Meselson
    Matthew Stanley Meselson is an American geneticist and molecular biologist whose research was important in showing how DNA replicates, recombines and is repaired in cells. In his mature years, he has been an active chemical and biological weapons activist and consultant...

  • Jeanne Guillemin
    Jeanne Guillemin
    Jeanne Harley Guillemin is a medical anthropologist, who for twenty-five years was a Professor of Sociology at Boston College and for the last ten years, a senior fellow in the Security Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

  • Sheldon H. Harris
    Sheldon H. Harris
    Sheldon H. Harris was a historian and Professor Emeritus of History at California State University.-Biography:Harris was born in New York City....

  • Richard Preston
    Richard Preston
    Richard Preston, born August 5, 1954 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., is a New Yorker writer and bestselling author perhaps best-known for his books about infectious disease epidemics and bioterrorism, although he has written other non-fiction works...

  • Arthur Galston
    Arthur Galston
    Arthur W. Galston was an American botanist and bioethicist who, as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, discovered the defoliant properties of a chemical that was subsequently studied and utilized by the United States Army. His research and 1943 Ph.D. dissertation were focused on...

  • David Willman
    David Willman
    David Willman is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist.-Life:He graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Journalism in 1978....



See also

  • AIDS origins conspiracy theories
  • Antibiotic resistance
    Antibiotic resistance
    Antibiotic resistance is a type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic. While a spontaneous or induced genetic mutation in bacteria may confer resistance to antimicrobial drugs, genes that confer resistance can be transferred between bacteria in a...

  • Asymmetric warfare
    Asymmetric warfare
    Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

  • Biosecurity
    Biosecurity
    Biosecurity is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, living modified organisms...

  • Ethnic bioweapon
    Ethnic bioweapon
    An ethnic bioweapon aims to harm only or primarily persons of specific ethnicities or genotypes.- History of ethnic bioweapons :One of the first fictional discussions of ethnic weapons is in Robert A...

  • Exotic pollution
    Exotic pollution
    Exotic pollution is a general definition that includes attacks involving nuclear, chemical, or biological agents intended to cause harm or contaminate and make unfit for use....

  • Ten Threats
    Ten threats
    The ten threats identified in 2004 by the High Level Threat Panel of the United Nations are these:# Poverty# Infectious disease# Environmental degradation# Inter-state war# Civil war# Genocide...

  • Yellow rain
    Yellow rain
    Yellow rain was a political incident in which the United States Secretary of State Alexander Haig accused the Soviet Union of supplying T-2 mycotoxin to the Communist states in Vietnam and Laos for use in counterinsurgency warfare....

  • Smallpox blankets

Further reading

  • Alibek, K. and S. Handelman. Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World– Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran it. Delta (2000) ISBN 0-385-33496-6
  • Appel, J. M.
    Jacob M. Appel
    Jacob M. Appel is an American author, bioethicist and social critic. He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia....

     Is all fair in biological warfare? The controversy over genetically engineered biological weapons, Journal of Medical Ethics, Volume 35, pp. 429–432 (2009).
  • Crosby, Alfred W., Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (New York, 1986).
  • Dembek, Zygmunt (editor), Medical Aspects of Biological Warfare; Washington, DC: Borden Institute
    Borden Institute
    The Borden Institute is a U.S. Army “Center of Excellence in Military Medical Research and Education” located on the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center , in Washington, DC....

     (2007).
  • Endicott, Stephen and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, Indiana University Press (1998). ISBN 0253334721
  • Knollenberg, Bernhard, "General Amherst and Germ Warfare," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 41 (1954–1955), 489-494.
  • Maskiell, Michelle, and Adrienne Mayor. "Killer Khilats: Legends of Poisoned Robes of Honour in India. Parts 1 & 2.” Folklore [London] 112 (Spring and Fall 2001): 23-45, 163-82.
  • Mayor, Adrienne, Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World. Overlook, 2003, rev. ed. 2009. ISBN 1-58567-348-X.
  • Pala, Christopher (19??), Anthrax Island
  • Preston, Richard
    Richard Preston
    Richard Preston, born August 5, 1954 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., is a New Yorker writer and bestselling author perhaps best-known for his books about infectious disease epidemics and bioterrorism, although he has written other non-fiction works...

     (2002), The Demon in the Freezer
    The Demon in the Freezer
    The Demon in the Freezer is a 2002 non-fiction book on the biological weapon agents smallpox and anthrax and how the American government develops defensive measures against them. It was written by journalist Richard Preston, also author of the best-selling book The Hot Zone , about outbreaks of...

    , New York: Random House.
  • Rózsa, Lajos 2009. The motivation for biological aggression is an inherent and common aspect of the human behavioural repertoire. Medical Hypotheses, 72, 217-219.
  • Woods, Lt Col Jon B. (ed.), USAMRIID’s Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook, 6th edition, U.S. Army Medical Institute of Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland (April 2005).

External links


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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