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CBRN and Hazmat Incidents at Major Public Events: Planning and Response by Dan Kaszeta

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SCENARIO K

The Biological Attack

BACKGROUND

Biological attacks will have a different character than chemical attacks. Because biological attacks may not be obvious at the time of execution, responders will have to work with less information and fewer certainties. The latency associated with most biological weapons means that the actual dissemination might not be noticed. Symptoms will develop hours, days, or weeks later, unlike the prompt effects of many chemical weapons. The first indicator might be the appearance of sick people seeking medical care. There may not be an “incident scene” in the same way that there can be in chemical or radiological incidents. Explosive dispersal, while still theoretically feasible, is one of the least effective ways of disseminating biological material, as the shock and heat tends to kill microbes. Subtle spray devices are far more effective and do not have the “flash and bang” associated with improvised explosive devices. While much has been written about biological warfare in aerosol form, we should also consider that deliberate contamination of food or water may also be a terrorist tactic.

THE SCENARIO

This scenario occurs at a major sporting event. The particular event will last for two weeks. It has dozens of venues in the host city and will be televised around the world. Several hundred thousand visitors are expected. Several thousand athletes are housed at an “athletes' village” constructed for the event. The majority of the athletes use ...

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