Bioterrorism: pathogens as weapons.
Biowarfare has been used for centuries. The use of biological weapons in terrorism remains a threat. Biological weapons include infectious agents (pathogens) and toxins. The most devastating bioterrorism scenario would be the airborne dispersal of pathogens over a concentrated population area. Characteristics that make a specific pathogen a high-risk for bioterrorism include a low infective dose, ability to be aerosolized, high contagiousness, and survival in a variety of environmental conditions. The most dangerous potential bioterrorism agents include the microorganisms that produce anthrax, plague, tularemia, and smallpox. Other diseases of interest to bioterrorism include brucellosis, glanders, melioidosis, Q fever, and viral encephalitis. Food safety and water safety threats are another area of concern.