We can look forward to a nuclear or biological attack on the United States by terrorists taking place within the next four years, most likely in the form of weaponized anthrax. And there is probably nothing we can do to avoid the attack taking place; we can only hope to mitigate the damage once it occurs. This according to a bipartisan Congressional report being delivered to Vice-President Elect Biden and other Obama Administration officials-in-waiting this morning.
While preparing this post, I did a Google image search for anthrax. That was a bad, bad mistake. This is nasty stuff. The link in this paragraph goes to the CDC informational on it. Now I don’t even want to link to a picture of the heavy metal band.
So, you can think about that while enjoying your coffee this morning. There is some good news; you can vaccinate against anthrax. If we do a massive vaccination program, then the bad guys may have to shift their focus to less easily-weaponizable kinds of organisms.
Here’s something else you probably haven’t thought about. Smallpox vaccinations haven’t been administered to people in any kind of a regular way since right about the year I was born. If you’ve been vaccinated for smallpox, you should have the scar on one of your shoulders. I’ve got no such scar. I don’t know many people under age 40 who do. Smallpox is pretty nasty stuff, too; its lethality rate back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was about half and half; the virulence of the surviving strains of the disease are thought to have decreased to about 30% but given that nearly two generations have grown up with no exposure to the pathogen at all, that’s an educated guess. The CDC claims that there is enough smallpox vaccine to vaccinate every man, woman, and child in the United States in the event of an outbreak, but that they’re not going to do it unless there is a public health emergency. That would be defined as a single confirmed case of the disease.
You don’t want to do an image search for what smallpox looks like, either. Trust me on this.
But, if you’ve enjoyed this post, you may want to peruse the list of readily-weaponizable organisms that the CDC is aware of, including the naturally-occuring ones like tularemia and Q fever as well as everybody’s favorite pathogen, Yersina Pestis, otherwise known as Bubonic Plague.
If you disagree with me on everything else that I write, trust me on this: you really, really, really don’t want to do an image search for what a plague victim looks like. Treasure, cherish, and protect your ignorance on this particular subject matter.
Have a nice morning!