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Countering Bioterrorism. What is Bioterrorism? The threat or use of biological agents with the intent of causing infection in order to achieve certain.

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Presentation on theme: "Countering Bioterrorism. What is Bioterrorism? The threat or use of biological agents with the intent of causing infection in order to achieve certain."— Presentation transcript:

1 Countering Bioterrorism

2 What is Bioterrorism? The threat or use of biological agents with the intent of causing infection in order to achieve certain goals. The threat or use of biological agents with the intent of causing infection in order to achieve certain goals. Types of Bioterrorism: Types of Bioterrorism: Eco-terrorismEco-terrorism Agro-terrorismAgro-terrorism

3 What is Agroterrorism? Agroterrorism is defined as any terrorist attack which uses a biological agent against crops, livestock or poultry. Agroterrorism is defined as any terrorist attack which uses a biological agent against crops, livestock or poultry. This can affect our: This can affect our: Food supply Water supply Natural resources

4 History of Agroterrorism During the First World War, German agents infected Allied horses with the bacterium that causes glanders — a disease that can kill horses and can also infect humans. During the First World War, German agents infected Allied horses with the bacterium that causes glanders — a disease that can kill horses and can also infect humans. Japan used animal and plant pathogens against Russia and Mongolia in the 1940’s. Japan used animal and plant pathogens against Russia and Mongolia in the 1940’s. Iraq is known to have weaponized wheat pathogens and other anti-animal and plant agents. Iraq is known to have weaponized wheat pathogens and other anti-animal and plant agents.

5 Is it a Real Threat? The World Health Organization (WHO) states: The World Health Organization (WHO) states: “The malicious contamination of food for terrorist purposes is a real and current threat”.

6 Why Agroterrorism? America is the world’s leader in food production America is the world’s leader in food production Food and fiber account for 30% of the GDP (GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a nation). Food and fiber account for 30% of the GDP (GDP is the total value of goods and services produced by a nation). In 1998 alone, agriculture was a 1.2 TRILLION dollar industry In 1998 alone, agriculture was a 1.2 TRILLION dollar industry Foreign agents are readily available Foreign agents are readily available Attacking our crops and animals could cripple the economy Attacking our crops and animals could cripple the economy

7 Places at Risk for Agroterrorism Largely agricultural areas Largely agricultural areas Heavy reliance on a monoculture of crops Heavy reliance on a monoculture of crops Free of specific serious animal and plant pathogens Free of specific serious animal and plant pathogens Major agricultural exporter Major agricultural exporter Target of international terrorism Target of international terrorism

8 Possible Agroterrorism Agents Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Hog Cholera Hog Cholera African Swine Fever African Swine Fever Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Rinderpest Rinderpest Wheat Smut Wheat Smut

9 What are the possible Targets? Animals and plants Animals and plants Trucks and railroads Trucks and railroads Farm workers, ranchers, producers Farm workers, ranchers, producers Ships Ships Food handlers Food handlers Grocery stores Grocery stores And more And more

10 What is the Possible Impact? It could threaten public health and cause farmers to lose animals and crops It could threaten public health and cause farmers to lose animals and crops Businesses, and consumers will pay the large price. Businesses, and consumers will pay the large price. Small towns could be wiped out, and the food supply could be in peril for a long time. Small towns could be wiped out, and the food supply could be in peril for a long time. The government and export market could be destabilized. The government and export market could be destabilized.

11 Difficulties of Preventing Agroterrorism Agricultural production is difficult to protect. Agricultural production is difficult to protect. Livestock are concentrated in confined locations. Livestock are concentrated in confined locations. The number of lethal and contagious biological agents are far greater for plants and animals than humans. The number of lethal and contagious biological agents are far greater for plants and animals than humans.

12 Presence or Rumor of Disease Even just the rumor of disease can be bad for the economy. Even just the rumor of disease can be bad for the economy. In 2001, a fungal disease of wheat was found in North Texas. In one day, over 25 countries banned wheat from the four infected counties, resulting in a loss of $27 million dollars! In 2001, a fungal disease of wheat was found in North Texas. In one day, over 25 countries banned wheat from the four infected counties, resulting in a loss of $27 million dollars!

13 How can we Counterattack Agroterrorism? 1. At National Level- Policies designed to minimize the social and economic cost 2. At Agricultural Sector Level- Disease detection and response procedures 3. At Farm Level- Management techniques to prevent disease transmission 4. At Organism Level- Plant and animal disease resistance

14 "The Bioterrorism Preparedness Act” of 2002 Allocated $250 million to the Dept. of Agriculture Allocated $250 million to the Dept. of Agriculture Expanded Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority over food manufacturing and imports Expanded Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority over food manufacturing and imports Upgraded security at USDA facilities Upgraded security at USDA facilities Made criminal penalties for terrorism against enterprises raising animals Made criminal penalties for terrorism against enterprises raising animals

15 Security for Biological Agents The government made a list of “select agents” that pose a severe threat to agriculture. These agents are now strictly regulated, causing laboratories and research institutions to upgrade security and assess any vulnerabilities.

16 Plum Island Animal Disease Center In 2002 possession of the Disease Center, which is America’s first line of defense against foreign animal disease, was switched from the Agriculture to the Dept. of Homeland Security, insuring safety and security.

17 Agricultural Border Inspections The Homeland Security Act increased the number of inspectors to 3,000. These agricultural specialists inspect all cargo from foreign countries that could harbor pest or disease organisms, improving the first line of defense for agricultural security. The Homeland Security Act increased the number of inspectors to 3,000. These agricultural specialists inspect all cargo from foreign countries that could harbor pest or disease organisms, improving the first line of defense for agricultural security.

18 Defense of U.S. Agriculture and Food In 2004, the president established a national policy on protecting against terrorist attacks on agriculture and food systems. In 2004, the president established a national policy on protecting against terrorist attacks on agriculture and food systems. The directive aims to coordinate all departments across all levels to prepare for, protect against and respond to an attack. The directive aims to coordinate all departments across all levels to prepare for, protect against and respond to an attack.

19 National Veterinary Stockpile NVS A stockpile of vaccine, anti-viral, and therapeutic products is currently being developed for deployment within 24 hours of an attack. A stockpile of vaccine, anti-viral, and therapeutic products is currently being developed for deployment within 24 hours of an attack.

20 National Plant Disease Recovery System NPDRS Researchers are to develop disease resistant varieties within one growing season of an attack to resume production of certain crops. Researchers are to develop disease resistant varieties within one growing season of an attack to resume production of certain crops.

21 Strategy for Countering Bioterrorism 1 st : Deterrence and Prevention 1 st : Deterrence and Prevention 2 nd : Detection and Response 2 nd : Detection and Response 3 rd : Recovery and Management 3 rd : Recovery and Management

22 Deterrence and Prevention The first defense is to keep the disease or pathogen out of the country. The first defense is to keep the disease or pathogen out of the country. This is done through inspections, quarantine practices, and post-import tracking of plants, animals, and products. This is done through inspections, quarantine practices, and post-import tracking of plants, animals, and products.

23 Deterrence and Prevention Many U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies collect information on bioweapons. Many U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies collect information on bioweapons. The U.S. is working hard to foster information sharing between the intelligence community (FBI, CIA), Homeland Security, and the Dept. of Agriculture. The U.S. is working hard to foster information sharing between the intelligence community (FBI, CIA), Homeland Security, and the Dept. of Agriculture.

24 Deterrence and Prevention Once a biological weapon is inside the U.S., the line of defense is biosecurity. Once a biological weapon is inside the U.S., the line of defense is biosecurity. Certain strategies protect animals and crops from infectious diseases and prevents rapid spread. Certain strategies protect animals and crops from infectious diseases and prevents rapid spread.

25 Detection and Response The private sector recently formed a Food and Agriculture Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) with over 40 trade associations represented. The private sector recently formed a Food and Agriculture Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) with over 40 trade associations represented. In the event of an attack, the ISAC will coordinate response efforts with the government. In the event of an attack, the ISAC will coordinate response efforts with the government.

26 Most important step! THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP of countering an attack is early detection. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP of countering an attack is early detection. Effective detection depends on a heightened state of awareness and on access to large scale testing. Effective detection depends on a heightened state of awareness and on access to large scale testing. Researchers are currently developing more efficient field tests to quickly detect pathogens. Researchers are currently developing more efficient field tests to quickly detect pathogens.

27 Field Tests Those responsible for recognizing the first symptoms of disease are: Those responsible for recognizing the first symptoms of disease are: FarmersFarmers ProducersProducers VeterinariansVeterinarians Plant pathologistsPlant pathologists EntomologistsEntomologists

28 Detection and Response Last line of defense: Last line of defense: Isolation, control, and eradication of the epidemic. The more widespread the outbreak, the costlier and more drastic the measures become.

29 Laboratories and Research Knowledge is essential to preventing bioterrorism attacks. Knowledge is essential to preventing bioterrorism attacks. The U.S. has acted by giving grants to research facilities. The U.S. has acted by giving grants to research facilities. For instance, Texas A&M University was awarded $33 million dollars to study serious animal diseases.For instance, Texas A&M University was awarded $33 million dollars to study serious animal diseases.

30 New Research Measures Sequencing of Genomes Sequencing of Genomes This generates new leads for tackling pathogensThis generates new leads for tackling pathogens Forensic Studies Forensic Studies These can determine where the pathogen was obtained fromThese can determine where the pathogen was obtained from New Vaccines New Vaccines A new class of vaccines to distinguish vaccinated versus infected animalsA new class of vaccines to distinguish vaccinated versus infected animals

31 Recovery and Management Long term recovery includes: Long term recovery includes: Returning plants and animals to once infected areasReturning plants and animals to once infected areas Introducing new genetic traitsIntroducing new genetic traits Rebuilding domestic confidenceRebuilding domestic confidence Regaining hold of the international marketRegaining hold of the international market

32 Is All of this Enough? Many critics feel that despite all of these efforts, the vulnerabilities remain due to certain aspects of the U.S. food system: Many critics feel that despite all of these efforts, the vulnerabilities remain due to certain aspects of the U.S. food system: Low level of biological diversityLow level of biological diversity High degree of economic concentrationHigh degree of economic concentration Dependence on foreign foodDependence on foreign food

33 Is All of this Enough? Alternate solutions that could reduce these vulnerabilities involve changes to the food industry: Encouraging more diversity Encouraging more diversity Encouraging farms to be self- sufficient: less likelihood for spread of disease Encouraging farms to be self- sufficient: less likelihood for spread of disease Less dependence on foreign food Less dependence on foreign food

34 In the Future The United States will continue to try and improve anti-bioterrorism measures through identifying risks, improving communication, and supplying weak points with the resources necessary to improve their ability to respond to an attack. The United States will continue to try and improve anti-bioterrorism measures through identifying risks, improving communication, and supplying weak points with the resources necessary to improve their ability to respond to an attack.


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