Terrorism involving the intentional release or dissemination of biological agents that

are harmful to humans. These agents may be in a naturally occurring or a humanmodified

form. For the use of this method in warfare, see Biological warfare. Biological

diseases and the agents that might be used for terrorism have been listed by the US

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC)

These agents include viruses, bacteria, rickettsiae (microorganisms that have traits

common to both bacterial and viruses), fungi, and biological toxins. Bioterrorism agents

can be separated into three categories, depending on how easily they can be spread

and the severity of illness or death they cause. Category A agents are considered the

highest risk and Category C agents are those that are considered emerging threats for


Category A agents pose high risk to national security because they can be easily

disseminated or transmitted from person to person; cause high mortality, with the

potential for major public health impact; might cause public panic and social disruption;

and require special action for public health preparedness. Examples of Category A

diseases include anthrax, botulism, plague, smallpox (variola), tularemia, and viral

hemorrhagic fevers due tofiloviruses (e.g., Ebola, Marburg) and arenaviruses (e.g.,

Lassa, Machupo)

Category B agents are moderately easy to disseminate; cause moderate morbidity and

low mortality; and require specific enhancements of the diagnostic capacity and

enhanced disease surveillance. Examples of Category B diseases include Brucellosis,

Epsilon toxin of Clostridium perfringens, food safety threats (e.g., Salmonella species,

Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella), Glanders (Burkholderia mallei), Melioidosis

(Burkholderia pseudomallei), Psittacosis, Q fever, Ricin toxin from Ricinus communis

(castor beans), Staphylococcal enterotoxin B, Typhus fever (Rickettsia prowazekii),

Viral encephalitis due to alphaviruses (e.g., Venezuelan equine encephalitis, eastern

equine encephalitis, western equine encephalitis) and water safety threats (e.g., Vibrio

cholerae, Cryptosporidium parvum).

Category C agents are emerging pathogens that could be engineered for mass

dissemination in the future because of their availability; ease of production and

dissemination; and potential for high morbidity and mortality and major health impact.

Examples of Category C diseases include Nipah virus, Hantavirus, tickborne

hemorrhagic fever and encephalitis viruses, Yellow fever, and Tuberculosis (multidrug-

resistant TB).

The act of bioterrorism can range from a simple hoax to the actual use of biological

weapons, also referred to as agents. Biological agents may be used for an isolated

assassination, as well as to cause incapacitation or death to thousands. If the

environment is contaminated, a long-term threat to the population could be created.

The use of biological agents is not a new concept, and history is filled with examples of

their use. In addition, an accidental release of biological agents is possible.


MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence