Bioterrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction


Bioterrorism is intentional use of infectious agents or germs, to cause illness. Bioterrorism preparedness is a national priority. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has worked with state and local health departments to identify and to respond to bioterrorism for several years. The federal response to bioterrorism includes medications, medical supplies, and if necessary, vaccines to protect an affected community. 

District Health Department 4 is aware of the need to be prepared for bioterrorism. For the past serveral years Public Health has worked with Local Emergency Management and first response agencies to increase our ability to detect and respond to a bioterrorism attack.  Public Health has also developed bioterrorism response plans along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The “Category A” Biological Agents

Among the many infectious diseases, there are a relative few that have been “weaponized.” That is, developed for use in warfare. There is evidence that some of the Category A agents may be available to, or in the possesion of terrorists or governments hostile to the United States. They are:

For poison questions of all types contact your regional Poison Control Center or for Poisoning Emergencies, call (800) 222-1222.

Other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Weapons of Mass Destruction, or WMD, are grouped into five categories using the acronym CBRN (pronounced “see-burn”). They are Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. Terrorist groups and governments have previously used all of these materials except for nuclear weapons. For further information on these weapons, follow the links below:

Chemical This site includes also information on toxic industrial chemicals (TIC) and toxic industrial materials (TIM), commonly referred to as “HAZMAT”, or hazardous materials.

Some Chemicals which have been weaponized and used for warfare follow:

  • Nerve Agents
  • Blood Agents
  • Blister Agents


Radiological What about “dirty bombs” 

Nuclear What to do in the event of a nuclear weapon detonation