Agents of Bioterrorism: Pathogens and Their Weaponization

By Geoffrey Zubay | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Salwa Touma

The viral genus Flavivirus is a very serious public health threat. Twentytwo of the 34 mosquito-borne flaviviruses cause human disease.2 In some strains, the flavivirus enters the brain’s blood vessels and nerves and causes brain inflammation, which is known as encephalitis.3 In the most severe cases, this inflammation may cause debilitating irreversible nerve damage, brain tumors, and death.4 The lethality of encephalitis can be as high as 37%, although it varies by strain.3

There are some prophylactic measures against viral encephalitis and one synthetically created acyclic nucleoside analog, Acyclovir,1–3 and many companies are working to develop a vaccine. However, since such a vaccine does not currently exist for the most common strains of encephalitis in the United States, it is a major bioterrorist threat. Its danger is increased by the ease of transmission from mosquitoes (mainly the culex species) and ticks and by their many breeding grounds.1,5 However, because of its moderate to low mortality rate, its moderate ease of dissemination, and the fact that it requires specific enhancements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) diagnostic capacity and enhanced disease surveillance, the CDC categorizes viral encephalitis as a Category B bioweapon threat and a Biosafety Level 3 pathogen.3

Encephalitis is derived from the Greek word encephalo (“brain”) and the Greek word itis, a term used pathologically to indicate inflammation of an organ or an abnormal state or condition. Thus, taken together, encephalitis literally means “inflammation of the brain,” which is precisely what advanced encephalitis is and what causes its potential lethality. However, unlike meningitis, which is limited to inflammation of the meninges of the brain, encephalitis involves inflammation of both the meninges and the parenchyma1,71218 (figure 2.1A and B).


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Agents of Bioterrorism: Pathogens and Their Weaponization


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 364

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?