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Virtual Naval Hospital

Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook

Appendix H: BW Agents: Characteristics

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases,Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed


 

Disease

 

Transmit Man to Man

 

Infective Dose

(Aerosol)

 

Incubation Period

 

Duration of Illness

 

Lethality

 

Persistence of Organism

 

Vaccine Efficacy

(aerosol exposure)

 

Inhalation anthrax

 

No

 

8,000-50,000 spores

 

1-6 days

 

3-5 days (usually fatal if untreated)

 

High

 

Very stable - spores remain viable for > 40 years in soil

 

2 dose efficacy against 200-500 LD50 in monkeys

 

Brucellosis

 

No

 

10 -100 organisms

 

5-60 days

(usually 1-2 months)

 

Weeks to months

 

<5% untreated

 

No vaccine

 

Cholera

 

Rare

 

10-500 organisms

 

4 hours -

5 days (usually 2-3 days)

 

> 1 week

 

Low with treatment, high without

 

Unstable in aerosols & fresh water; stable in salt water

 

No data on aerosol

 

Glanders

 

10-14 days via aerosol

 

> 50%

 

No vaccine

 

Pneumonic Plague

 

High

 

< 100 organisms

 

2-3 days

 

1-6 days

(usually fatal)

 

High unless treated within 12-24 hours

 

For up to 1 year in soil; 270 days in live tissue

 

3 doses not protective against 118 LD50 in monkeys

 

Tularemia

 

No

 

10-50 organisms

 

1-21 days (average 3-5)

 

> 2 weeks

 

Moderate if untreated

 

For months in moist soil or other media

 

80% protection against

1-10 LD50

 

Q Fever

 

Rare

 

1-10 organisms

 

2-14 days (average 7)

 

Weeks

 

Very low

 

For months on wood and sand

 

94% protection against 3,500 LD50 in guinea pigs

 

Smallpox

 

High

 

Assumed low

(10-100 organisms)

 

7-17 days (average 12)

 

4 weeks

 

High to moderate

 

Very stable

 

Vaccine protects against large doses in primates

 

Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis

 

Low

 

10-100 organisms

 

1-5 days

 

Days to weeks

 

Low

 

Relatively unstable

 

TC 83 protects against 30-500 LD50 in hamsters

 

Viral

Hemorrhagic

Fevers

 

Moderate

 

1-10 organisms

 

4-21 days

 

Death between 7-16 days

 

High for Zaire strain, moderate with Sudan

 

Relatively unstable

 

No vaccine

 

Botulism

 

No

 

0.001 m g/kg is LD50 for type A

 

1-5 days

 

Death in 24-72 hours; lasts months if not lethal

 

High without respiratory support

 

For weeks in nonmoving water and food

 

3 dose efficacy 100% against 25-250 LD50 in primates

 

Staph Enterotoxin B

 

No

 

30 g/person incapacitation

 

3-12 hours after inhalation

 

Hours

 

< 1%

 

Resistant to freezing

 

No vaccine

 

Ricin

 

No

 

3-5 m g/kg is LD50

 

18-24 hours

 

Days - death within 10-12 days for ingestion

 

High

 

Stable

 

No vaccine

 

T-2 Mycotoxins

 

No

 

Moderate

 

2-4 hours

 

Days to months

 

Moderate

 

For years at room temperature

 

No vaccine

 

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