Could the Ebola virus become a bio-terrorist threat?


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Lawmakers and infectious disease experts are examining whether terrorists could use Ebola to deliberately infect and wreak psychological havoc on an unsuspecting population. This is according to a report in Fox News.

“I do, at some level, think the government should be concerned about bio-weaponization, because if it does happen it could be devastating,” said Amanda Teckman, who published a detailed report entitled “The Bioterrorist Threat of Ebola in East Africa and Implications for Global Health” in the May 2013 issue of Global Policy.

Various scenarios involve terrorists leaving “dirty bombs” of infected fluids throughout a densely populated city, or lone wolves on a suicide mission, infecting themselves to purposely spread disease to others.

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“If you want to do the equivalent of a dirty bomb all you need is a bag of vomit,” said Dr. Ryan Hall, a forensic psychologist who has written about psychological trauma associated with bioterrorism.

The stress of the unknown would send shock waves. “The fear that would be generated from that would be huge,” he said.

Teckman began studying the issue during the 2012 outbreak of Ebola in Uganda, which killed 17 people. So far, the latest outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 3,000. The threat of Ebola being used for bioterror has since taken on a new urgency.

Still, executing such an attack would not be easy. Most Lawmaker have not been ringing the alarms about that possibility, yet.

For now, lawmakers on key security committees seem less concerned with weaponization than with the accidental spread of the disease posed by the recent traveler from Liberia to Texas – or terrorists in the Middle East, for that matter.