The plague is caused by the bacteria Yesinia pestis and is found on rodents and their fleas. There are two types; pneumonic plague where the bacteria enter the lungs via air droplets from close contact with an infected person or animal, and bubonic plague that enters the blood stream via infected fleas.
Symptoms of the inhaled plague occur 2-3 days after exposure and up to 10 days if bloodborne. They include:
Botulism is a foodborne illness caused by a toxin made by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. While minute amounts may be therapeutic when they paralyze isolated muscles for neuromuscular diseases, contaminating the food supply with Clostridium spores can be a public health disaster of monumental proportions. Paralysis and death come fast and furious when the muscles that control breathing shut down.
Symptoms of botulism occur within hours or days after eating contaminated food.
Federal, state, and local authorities are charged with monitoring bioterrorism threats and notifying the public once an attack has been established. If all the systems are working properly, authorities will notify the medical community, and make a public statement to let you know if your geographic area is in danger and where you should go to if you should become sick.
Here are some proactive steps you can take.
To see if your jurisdiction is prepared for a bioterrorism attack check the American College Of Emergency Physician's The National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine.
For more tips on emergency preparedness by Dr. Leigh Vinocur, click here .