Local Pathologist: Biological Weapons Do Not Kill Instantly

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Even before the war started, the threat of bio-terrorism was very real. A local doctor who is part of a national project called Vaccine Safety says biological weapons dispersed into the air are the most dangerous.

For troops, he says gas masks should keep out most airborne pathogens. In the event spores do get through, however, Dr. Kurt Reed an infectious disease pathologist says vaccinations are a good second line of defense.

"Even if a vaccine doesn't prevent illness," said Reed, who heads the Microbiology section at Marshfield Clinic. "It could go a long way to decreasing the severity of the disease if you get it."

Reed says there are no guarantees when it comes to vaccines. The concern is that if a biological weapon such as Anthrax or Smallpox is deployed, there could be genetic engineering involved, designed to resist vaccines or antibiotics.

Reed says the U.S. has come a long way in biological research, however, and is arming our troops overseas with the best defenses available. He adds that biological weapons such as Anthrax and Smallpox normally do not act instantaneously, which gives people a chance to seek medical attention if they believe they have been infected.

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