Clinical recognition and management of patients exposed to biological warfare agents

D. R. Franz, P. B. Jahrling, D. J. McClain, D. L. Hoover, W. R. Byrne, J. A. Pavlin, G. W. Christopher, T. J. Cieslak, A. M. Friedlander, Jr Eitzen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Concern regarding the use of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or toxins) as tools of warfare or terrorism has led to measures to deter their use or, failing that, to deal with the consequences. Unlike chemical agents, which typically lead to severe disease syndromes within minutes at the site of exposure, diseases resulting from biological agents have incubation periods of days. Rather than a paramedic, it will likely be a physician who is first faced with evidence of the results of a biological attack. Provided here is an updated primer on 11 classic BW and potential terrorist agents to increase the likelihood of their being considered in a differential diagnosis. Although the resultant diseases are rarely seen in many countries today, accepted diagnostic and epidemiologic principles apply; if the cause is identified quickly, appropriate therapy can be initiated and the impact of a terrorist attack greatly reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-473
Number of pages39
JournalClinics in Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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