Chapter

Devils We've Known

Lynn C. Klotz and Edward J. Sylvester

in Breeding Bio Insecurity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226444055
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226444079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226444079.003.0004
Devils We've Known

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A team of scientists zealously toiled to weaponize the world's deadliest bacterial toxin to deploy against its own civilian population. The killer to be delivered was botulinum toxin, the cause of botulism, which has the ominous distinction of being the most known poisonous substance. Botulin was not the only murder weapon they worked on; that same month, the cult released anthrax spores from its midrise Tokyo office building, which housed its laboratory. In addition to botulin, cult scientists experimented with anthrax, cholera, and Q fever, another barnyard bacteria, which caused illness that is rarely fatal in humans. In their native form, the bacteria and viruses discussed as death agents are virtually no public health threat in developed nations. But if some of these agents can somehow be weaponized as aerosols they could cause a large number of casualties.

Keywords: bacterial toxin; botulinum; botulism; botulin; anthrax spores; cholera; Q fever

Chapter.  8529 words. 

Subjects: Biotechnology

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