What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is the use of violence, fear, and intimidation to achieve an end.
Since the 9/11 attacks in September 2001 and the anthrax attacks in the same year, increasing terrorism has been a greater concern. The concept of using biological agents (some chemical made by a living organism or the organism itself) for this purpose is not new as it has been used in warfare for more than two millennia.
Some examples of this use are:
- 400 BC: Scythian archers dipped arrows in blood, manure, and tissue from decomposing bodies to poison their enemies.
- 200 BC: South American archers used curare on arrows to kill their enemies.
- 1650 AD: A Polish general ordered saliva from rabid dogs placed into hollow spheres to hurl at enemies.
- 1930s AD: Japanese military dropped fleas infected with Plague bacteria into Chinese cities.
What To Do
The best defense against such an attack is to know sources of reliable information about the type of agent and its location, treatment or protection options. People will generally learn about an attack through the standard news media, particularly their radios, televisions, and the Internet.
If an attack happens:
- Stay Calm
- Call 1-800-222-1222 or 911
- If you are outdoors—cover all exposed skin and protect your respiratory system as much as possible.
- If an attack is outside and you are indoors, stay inside, close all windows and doors tightly, and turn off ventilation systems. If alarm sounds, exit the building and avoid all contaminated areas.
Once clear of the contaminated area, remove all external clothing and leave outside. Shower immediately with soap and water; irrigate eyes with water.
- Call 1-800-222-1222 for more instructions.
Your regional poison center is an excellent source of needed information about what to do. You can speak with a poison information specialist 24 hours a day via the nationwide toll-free telephone number 1-800-222-1222. Each of our nation’s poison centers is available to all health care providers and to the general public to assist in providing appropriate prevention and treatment options.
Additional information regarding bioterrorism and other chemical agents may be found at the Centers for Disease Control website: http://emergency.cdc.gov/bioterrorism/