Journal Article

Pathogenic Rickettsiae as Bioterrorism Agents

Abdu F. Azad

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 45, issue Supplement_1, pages S52-S55
Published in print July 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Pathogenic Rickettsiae as Bioterrorism Agents

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Because of their unique biological characteristics, such as environmental stability, small size, aerosol transmission, persistence in infected hosts, low infectious dose, and high associated morbidity and mortality, Rickettsia prowazekii and Coxiella burnetii have been weaponized. These biological attributes would make the pathogenic rickettsiae desirable bioterrorism agents. However, production of highly purified, virulent, weapon-quality rickettsiae is a daunting task that requires expertise and elaborate, state-of-the art laboratory procedures to retain rickettsial survival and virulence. Another drawback to developing rickettsial pathogens as biological weapons is their lack of direct transmission from host to host and the availability of very effective therapeutic countermeasures against these obligate intracellular bacteria.

Journal Article.  2127 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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