In the hands of the right professional or microbiologist, harmful microbes can be weaponized and used as agents of bioterrorism to cause mayhem in human, plants or animal populations. Not all microbes are effective for use as biological weapons. Some microbes are more effective than others and more dangerous than other microorganisms; and thus possess some characteristics that makes them good agents of manufacturing biological weapons. To be effective for bioterrorism, biological agents and other chemical agents used for this purpose must meet certain criteria which necessitates their usage as potential tools for biowarfare. Some of the characteristics of biological agents (i.e. microbes) used as biological weapons in bioterrorism include:
- They are usually available and inexpensive.
- They are easy to grow and produce.
- They are easy to distribute.
- They have low visibility.
- They are highly infectious, and can be easily transmitted from person-to-person.
- They are safe to use by terrorists and offending soldiers.
- They cause consistent health damage or sickness in human populations.
- They cause sickness and death in human populations.
- They are highly pathogenic for animals, livestock or poultry.
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