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Particle Size and Organism Number: Impact on Bioaerosols

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There exists a global concern regarding the potential for an attack with a biological weapon BW within the next several years. This is amply demonstrated by efforts to develop highly advanced detection instruments and warning systems, produce innovative clothing to protect against weapons of mass destruction WMD, determine methods to mitigate possible effects, and provide effective consequence management. Obviously, it is most important to properly assess the threat of a biological weapon and to understand the potential impact to apply the best defensive and protective measures to thwart a BW attack. Although there are several potential dissemination scenarios to describe an attack with a biological weapon, the greatest concern is directed at the potential release of a bioaerosol. Aerosol dissemination, stemming from the development of large military-affiliated offensive BW programs, has been recognized as the most efficient method for spreading a biological agent. The 1995 incident on the Tokyo subway by the Aum Shinrikyo in their use of aerosolized sarin, albeit crudely designed, demonstrated clearly that terrorists would now achieve enough technical sophistication to employ recognized methods with WMD use. To defend against a bioaerosol attack, there is much to be gained in understanding and predicting the anticipated effects of an aerosolized agent on an exposed population. Such knowledge will provide greater insight into the design of a variety of materials and protocols under development to respond to such an attack. Detectors, rapid response teams, predictive dispersion codes, protective clothing, and decontamination equipment are just a few items in the growing arsenal to protect against a WMD attack. The widely recognized proliferation of biological weapons mandates, in particular, the necessity for protection against bioaerosols.

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  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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