Weapons are prohibited. Part 4. Biological weapons

Weapons are prohibited. Part 4. Biological weapons

Biological weapons are weapons of mass destruction; their destructive effect is based on the use of a variety of pathogenic microorganisms that can cause mass diseases and lead to the death of people, plants and animals.
Some classifications include biological weapons and insect pests that can cause serious harm to the agricultural crops of the enemy state (locusts, Colorado potato beetles, etc.). Previously, the term “bacteriological weapon” could very often be found, but it did not fully reflect the entire essence of this type of weapon, since bacteria themselves constituted only one of the groups of living beings that could be used to wage biological warfare. Prohibition
Biological weapons were prohibited by a document that came into force on March 26, 1975.

As of January 2012, 165 states are parties to the Biological Weapons Convention.

The main prohibiting document: “Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) Weapons, as well as Toxins and Their Destruction (Geneva, 1972). The first attempt at a ban was made back in 1925, we are talking about the “Geneva Protocol”, which came into force on February 8, 1928.

Subject of the prohibition: microbes and other biological agents, as well as toxins, regardless of their origin or production methods, types and quantities that are not intended for prevention, protection or other peaceful purposes, as well as ammunition that is intended to deliver these agents or toxins to to the enemy during armed conflicts.

Biological weapons

Biological weapons pose a danger to people, animals and plants. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiae, and bacterial toxins can be used as pathogenic microorganisms or toxins. There is the possibility of using prions (as genetic weapons). At the same time, if we consider war as a set of actions aimed at suppressing the enemy’s economy, then insects that are able to effectively and quickly destroy agricultural crops can also be classified as types of biological weapons.

Biological weapons are inextricably linked with technical means of application and means of delivery. Technical means of use include such means that allow for the safe transportation, storage and transfer into combat status of biological agents (destroyable containers, capsules, cassettes, aerial bombs, sprayers and airborne dispensers). Biological weapons delivery vehicles include combat vehicles that ensure the delivery of technical means to enemy targets (ballistic and cruise missiles, aircraft, shells). This also includes groups of saboteurs who can deliver containers with biological weapons to the area of ​​use.

Biological weapons have the following destructive properties:

— high efficiency of the use of biological agents; — difficulty in timely detection of biological contamination; - the presence of a hidden (incubation) period of action, which leads to an increase in the secrecy of the use of biological weapons, but at the same time reduces its tactical effectiveness, since it does not allow for immediate disabling; — a wide variety of biological agents (BS); — the duration of the damaging effect, which is due to the resistance of some types of BS to the external environment; - flexibility of destructive action (presence of pathogens that temporarily disable and have lethal effects); - the ability of some types of BS to spread epidemically, which appears as a result of the use of pathogens that can be transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person; - selectivity of action, which is manifested in the fact that some types of BS affect exclusively people, others - animals, and still others - both people and animals (glanders, anthrax, brucellosis); — the ability of biological weapons in the form of aerosols to penetrate unsealed premises, engineering structures and military equipment.

The advantages of biological weapons, experts usually include the availability and low cost of production, as well as the possibility of large-scale epidemics of dangerous infectious diseases appearing in the enemy army and among its civilian population, which can spread panic and fear everywhere, as well as reduce the combat effectiveness of army units and disorganize the work of the rear.

The beginning of the use of biological weapons is usually attributed to the ancient world. So, in 1500 BC. e. The Hittites in Asia Minor appreciated the power of the contagious disease and began to send plague to enemy lands. In those years, the infection scheme was very simple: they took sick people and sent them to the enemy’s camp. The Hittites used people who were sick with tularemia for these purposes. In the Middle Ages, the technology received some improvement: the corpses of people or animals who died from some terrible disease (usually the plague) were thrown over the walls into the besieged city using a variety of throwing weapons. An epidemic could break out inside the city, with the defenders dying in droves, and the survivors seized by real panic.

One fairly well-known case, which occurred in 1763, remains controversial. According to one version, the British gave the American Indian tribe scarves and blankets that had previously been used by smallpox patients. It is unknown whether this attack was planned in advance (then this is a real case of using BO), or whether it happened by accident. In any case, according to one version, a real epidemic arose among the Indians, which claimed hundreds of lives and almost completely undermined the fighting capacity of the tribe.

Some historians even believe that the famous 10 plagues of the Bible that Moses "called" against the Egyptians may have been campaigns of some sort of biological warfare, rather than divine attacks at all. Many years have passed since then, and human advances in the field of medicine have led to a significant improvement in our understanding of the actions of harmful pathogens and how the human immune system is able to fight them. However, this was a double-edged sword. Science has given us modern treatments and vaccinations, but has also led to the further militarization of some of the most destructive biological "agents" on Earth.

The first half of the 20th century was marked by the use of biological weapons by both the Germans and the Japanese, and both countries used anthrax. Subsequently, it began to be used in the USA, Russia and Great Britain. Even during the First World War, the Germans tried to provoke an anthrax epizootic among the horses of their opponents' countries, but they failed to do so. After the signing of the so-called Geneva Protocol in 1925, the development of biological weapons became more difficult.

However, the protocol did not stop everyone. Thus, in Japan, during the Second World War, an entire special unit, the secret detachment 731, experimented with biological weapons. It is reliably known that during the war, specialists from this unit purposefully and quite successfully infected the population of China with bubonic plague, which killed a total of about 400 thousand Human. And Nazi Germany was engaged in the massive spread of malaria vectors in the Pontine Marshes in Italy; the Allied losses from malaria reached about 100 thousand people.

From all this it follows that biological weapons are a simple, effective and ancient way of exterminating large masses of people. However, such weapons also have very serious disadvantages that significantly limit the possibilities of combat use. A very big disadvantage of such weapons is that the pathogens of dangerous diseases cannot be “trained”. Bacteria and viruses cannot be forced to distinguish friend from foe. Having broken free, they harm all living things in their path indiscriminately. Moreover, they can trigger the process of mutation, and predicting these changes is very difficult, and sometimes simply impossible. Therefore, even antidotes prepared in advance may become ineffective against mutated samples. Viruses are the most susceptible to mutations; it is enough to remember that vaccines against HIV infection have not yet been created, not to mention the fact that from time to time humanity experiences problems with treating the common flu.

Currently, protection against biological weapons is reduced to two large groups of special measures. The first of them are preventive in nature. Preventive actions include vaccinations of military personnel, the population and farm animals, the development of means for early detection of biological weapons, and sanitary and epidemiological surveillance. The second measures are therapeutic. These include emergency prevention after the discovery of the use of biological weapons, specialized care for sick people and their isolation.

Simulations of situations and exercises have repeatedly proven the fact that states with more or less developed medicine can cope with the consequences of currently known types of biological weapons. But the story of the same flu proves to us the opposite every year. If someone manages to create a weapon based on this very common virus, the end of the world could become a much more real event than many people think.

Today the following can be used as biological weapons:

- bacteria - causative agents of anthrax, plague, cholera, brucellosis, tularemia, etc.; — viruses—causative agents of tick-borne encephalitis, smallpox, Ebola and Marburg fever, etc.; - rickettsia - causative agents of Rocky Mountain fever, typhus, Q fever, etc.; — fungi—causative agents of histoplasmosis and nocardiosis; - botulinum toxin and other bacterial toxins.

To successfully spread biological weapons, the following can be used:

— artillery shells and mines, aircraft bombs and aerosol generators, long- and short-range missiles, as well as any unmanned attack weapons carrying biological weapons; — aircraft bombs or special containers filled with infected arthropods; — various ground vehicles and equipment for air contamination; — special equipment and various devices for sabotage contamination of air, water in enclosed spaces, food, as well as for the spread of infected rodents and arthropods.

It is the use of mosquitoes, flies, fleas, ticks, and lice artificially infected with bacteria and viruses that seems to be an almost win-win option. Moreover, these carriers can retain the ability to transmit the pathogen to people virtually throughout their entire lives. And their lifespan can range from several days or weeks (flies, mosquitoes, lice) to several years (ticks, fleas).

Biological terrorism

In the post-war period, biological weapons were not used during large-scale conflicts. But at the same time, terrorist organizations began to take an active interest in him. Thus, since 1916, at least 11 cases of planning or carrying out terrorist attacks using biological weapons have been documented. The most famous example is the story of sending letters containing anthrax spores to the United States in 2001, when the letters killed 5 people.

Today, biological weapons most closely resemble the genie in a fairy tale who was locked in a bottle. However, sooner or later, the simplification of technologies for the production of biological weapons may lead to a loss of control over them and will put humanity in front of another threat to its security. The development of chemical and later nuclear weapons led to the fact that almost all countries of the world refused further funding of work on the creation of new types of biological weapons, which had been going on for decades. Thus, the technological developments and scientific data that were accumulated during this time turned out to be “suspended in the air.”

On the other hand, work aimed at creating means of protection against dangerous infections has never stopped. They are conducted at the global level, with research centers receiving decent amounts of funding for these purposes. The epidemiological threat continues today throughout the world, which means that even in undeveloped and poor countries there are always sanitary and epidemiological laboratories that are equipped with everything necessary to carry out work related to microbiology. Today, even ordinary breweries can be quite easily repurposed to produce any biological formulations. Such objects, along with laboratories, may be of interest to biological terrorists.

At the same time, the most likely candidate for use for sabotage and terrorist purposes is the variola virus. Currently, collections of variola virus, on the recommendation of the World Health Organization, are securely stored in Russia and the USA. At the same time, there is information that this virus can be stored uncontrollably in a number of states and can spontaneously (and possibly intentionally) leave the storage sites.

It is necessary to understand that terrorists do not pay any attention to international conventions, and they are not at all concerned about the indiscriminate nature of pathogenic microorganisms. The main task of terrorists is to sow fear and achieve their desired goals in this way. For these purposes, biological weapons seem to be an almost ideal option. Few things compare to the panic that the use of biological weapons can cause. Of course, this could not have happened without the influence of cinema, literature and the media, which surrounded such an opportunity with an aura of certain inevitability.

However, even without the media, there are prerequisites for the possible use of such weapons for terrorist purposes. For example, potential bioterrorists take into account the mistakes made by their predecessors. Attempts to create portable nuclear charges and a chemical attack that was carried out in the Tokyo subway due to the lack of high technology and a competent approach among terrorists turned out to be failures. At the same time, biological weapons, if the attack is carried out correctly, will continue to operate without the participation of the perpetrators, reproducing itself.

Thanks to this, based on the totality of parameters, we can confidently say that biological weapons may be chosen by terrorists in the future as the most suitable means to achieve their goals.

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In this publication I want to talk about the main types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Biological (bacteriological) weapons are pathogenic microorganisms or their spores, viruses, bacterial toxins, infected people and animals, as well as their delivery vehicles (missiles, guided missiles, automatic balloons, aircraft), intended for the mass destruction of enemy personnel and farm animals. , crops, as well as damage to certain types of military materials and equipment. It is a weapon of mass destruction and is prohibited under the Geneva Protocol of 1925.

The damaging effect of biological weapons is based primarily on the use of the pathogenic properties of pathogenic microorganisms and the toxic products of their vital activity.

Biological weapons are used in the form of various ammunition; they are equipped with certain types of bacteria that cause infectious diseases that take the form of epidemics. It is intended to infect people, crops and animals, as well as contaminate food and water sources.

Chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction, the action of which is based on the toxic properties of toxic substances (CAS), and the means of their use: artillery shells, rockets, mines, aircraft bombs, gas launchers, balloon gas release systems, VAPs (aircraft spray devices), grenades, checkers . Along with nuclear and biological (bacteriological) weapons, it refers to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The use of chemical weapons has been prohibited several times by various international agreements:

The Hague Convention of 1899, article 23 of which prohibits the use of ammunition whose sole purpose is to poison enemy personnel; Geneva Protocol of 1925; The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction of 1993. Chemical weapons are distinguished by the following characteristics:

the nature of the physiological effects of chemical agents on the human body; tactical purpose; speed of onset of impact; durability of the agent used; means and methods of application.

Based on the nature of their physiological effects on the human body, there are six main types of toxic substances:

Nerve agents that affect the central nervous system. The purpose of using nerve agents is to quickly and massively incapacitate personnel with as many deaths as possible. Toxic substances in this group include sarin, soman, tabun and V-gases. Agents of blister action, causing damage mainly through the skin, and when used in the form of aerosols and vapors, also through the respiratory system. The main toxic substances are mustard gas and lewisite. Generally toxic agents that, when entering the body, disrupt the transfer of oxygen from the blood to the tissues. These are one of the fastest acting agents. These include hydrocyanic acid and cyanogen chloride. Agents have a suffocating effect, affecting mainly the lungs. The main agents are phosgene and diphosgene. Psychochemical agents capable of incapacitating enemy manpower for some time. These toxic substances, affecting the central nervous system, disrupt the normal mental activity of a person or cause disorders such as temporary blindness, deafness, a sense of fear, and limited motor functions. Poisoning with these substances in doses that cause mental disorders does not lead to death. OMs from this group are quinuclidyl-3-benzilate (BZ) and lysergic acid diethylamide. Irritant agents, or irritants (from the English irritant - irritating substance). Irritating substances are fast-acting. At the same time, their effect is usually short-lived, since after leaving the contaminated area, signs of poisoning disappear within 1-10 minutes. A lethal effect for irritants is possible only when doses entering the body are tens to hundreds of times higher than the minimum and optimally effective doses. Irritating agents include lachrymatory substances, which cause excessive lacrimation, and sneezing agents, which irritate the respiratory tract (can also affect the nervous system and cause skin lesions). Lachrymators (lacrimators) - CS, CN (chloroacetophenone) and PS (chloropicrin). Sneeze agents (sternites) - DM (adamsite), DA (diphenylchloroarsine) and DC (diphenylcyanarsine). There are agents that combine tear and sneeze effects. Irritating agents are in service with the police in many countries and are therefore classified as police or special non-lethal means (special means).

However, non-lethal substances can also cause death. In particular, during the Vietnam War, the American army used the following types of gases:

CS—orthochlorobenzylidene malononitrile and its formulations; CN—chloroacetophenone; DM—adamsite or chlorodihydrofenarsazine; CNS, prescription form of chloropicrin; BA (BAE) - bromoacetone; BZ—quinuclidyl-3-benzilate.

Nuclear weapons - a set of nuclear weapons, means of delivering them to the target and control means; refers to weapons of mass destruction along with biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear ammunition is an explosive weapon based on the use of nuclear energy released during a nuclear chain reaction of fission of heavy nuclei and/or thermonuclear fusion reaction of light nuclei.

When a nuclear weapon is detonated, a nuclear explosion occurs, the damaging factors of which are:

shock wave light radiation penetrating radiation radioactive contamination electromagnetic pulse (EMP) x-ray radiation

Two main categories:

“Atomic” - single-phase or single-stage explosive devices in which the main energy output comes from the nuclear reaction of fission of heavy nuclei (uranium-235 or plutonium) with the formation of lighter elements.

Thermonuclear weapons (also “hydrogen”) are two-phase or two-stage explosive devices in which two physical processes, localized in different areas of space, are sequentially developed: in the first stage, the main source of energy is the fission reaction of heavy nuclei, and in the second, fission and thermonuclear fusion reactions are used in varying proportions, depending on the type and configuration of the ammunition.

It is customary to divide nuclear weapons into five groups according to their power:

ultra-small (less than 1 ct); small (1 - 10 kt); medium (10 - 100 kt); large (high power) (100 kt - 1 Mt); extra-large (extra-high power) (over 1 Mt).

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Bacteriological weapons, brief description


Epidemic focus, causes,

An epidemic focus is the location of the source of infection together with the surrounding area, within which, under specific circumstances, the pathogen can spread.

An epidemic focus can be an apartment, a kindergarten, a school, or a carriage in which the patient is located. When the patient moves from the original focus, new ones may arise. A number of epidemic foci that arose from one another constitute an epidemic process.

Sporadic morbidity is an morbidity in any area that remains at the same level in the form of isolated cases for several years.

An epidemic is an increase in morbidity in any area by 3-10 times compared to sporadic or the appearance of several cases of a disease (new) that has not previously occurred.

A pandemic is a large epidemic that covers many countries and even entire continents. Thus, the influenza pandemics of 1889-1990, 1918-1920, 1957, and the typhus pandemic of 1918-1920 are known. and etc.

Endemic is the incidence of a disease characteristic of the population of a certain area.

Natural conditions influence the development of the epidemic process. It is known that malaria is common in swampy areas with warm climates, yellow fever - only in the tropics, cholera begins its spread in India, tick-borne encephalitis is found in the taiga regions of Siberia, mosquito encephalitis - in the Far East, Primorsky Territory and Japan. This is due to natural and climatic conditions in which reservoirs of infection (wild animals) and carriers of pathogens can persist and exist. Thus, it is known that the source of tick-borne encephalitis infection is taiga rodents, and the carriers of the virus are ticks. Both have adapted to life in taiga conditions and create foci of infection.

The doctrine of the natural focality of some infectious diseases was developed in 1938 by the Russian scientist E.N. Pavlovsky. Natural focality is characteristic of plague, tularemia, tick-borne and mosquito-borne encephalitis, yellow fever, hemorrhagic fevers, leishmaniasis and other diseases.

Bacteriological weapons are pathogenic microorganisms and their toxins intended to infect people, animals and plants, as well as means of their delivery.

Bacteriological weapons must meet the following requirements: high pathogenicity, stability, difficulty of indication and protection against it. One of the features of BS is the ability to cause diseases in negligible quantities when entering the human body. In this respect, they are superior to even the most toxic chemical agents. For example, one gram of dry botulinum toxin is enough to fatally infect 8 million people.

Currently, a large number of infectious diseases are known that are capable of epidemic spread and long-lasting damaging effects. Of these, the greatest threat to people is posed by particularly dangerous infections (PDIs) - plague, cholera, smallpox, etc., as well as pathogens of viral contagious infections - Lassa, Machuro, Ebola, etc.

One of the most likely ways to use BS is aerosol. It allows you to infect large areas for a long time, overcome the immune barrier in people and lead to mass destruction of people (animals).

There are other ways to use BS: with the help of infected insects, ticks, rodents; sabotage - by contaminating drinking water and food products. It is possible to use combined formulations, as well as the use of BS and OM, either in the territory or in the territory contaminated with RV. In these cases, combined lesions will occur.

5.5. Anti-epidemic measures in the outbreak

bacterial infection (quarantine, observation,

emergency prophylaxis).

A source of bacteriological damage (SBD) is an area that has undergone bacterial contamination, creating a source of infectious diseases and causing diseases in people, animals, and plants.

The size of the infectious disease depends on the method of spread and the number of microorganisms involved in infection, weather conditions, terrain, the nature of development and the layout of populated areas.

The boundaries of the outbreak will be the boundaries of populated areas. The duration of preservation of ABP is directly dependent on the survival of pathogens in the external environment (for example, cholera pathogens persist in the external environment for 4-20 days, plague - from 10 days to 7 months, and anthrax spores can persist for several (many) years). During this entire period, they can infect people and animals. Sanitary losses in the outbreak depend on the type of pathogen, the infectious dose, the time the population spent in the outbreak, the degree of its protection, the individual susceptibility of the body and can amount to 25-50%.

The focus of bacterial infection (HBI) should be understood as cities, settlements (places of temporary accommodation of the population) or ONH that have been infected with BS. The boundaries of the source of infection in such cases are the borders of these cities, individual settlements or localities.

All measures to localize and eliminate foci of BS lesions are carried out in accordance with the PBP (antibacterial protection) plan, which is developed in advance by specialists of the sanitary and epidemiological service (SES) together with employees of the general medical network. The plan is coordinated with the higher health authority and approved by the mayor of the city, administration of the district, city, etc. The decision on maintaining the population health and safety plan is made by the Emergency Anti-Epidemic Commission (EEC). By decision of the Emergency Control Commission, the head of the outbreak and the chief of staff for eliminating the outbreak are appointed. The composition of the outbreak elimination headquarters is determined by the specific epidemic situation, taking into account the scale of the outbreak, the characteristics of the pathogen, and the amount of work required. The headquarters, as a rule, includes heads of services, as well as consultants on this infection from among employees of the SES, treatment and prevention and scientific institutions.

24-hour duty is organized at the headquarters. The head of the outbreak headquarters draws up a plan for eliminating the outbreak and submits it to the emergency response team. In addition, he daily provides operational information from the head of the outbreak to the emergency response center about the state of the disease and the activities being carried out.

General management and control over the implementation of measures to localize and eliminate the source of the disaster is carried out by the Emergency Control Commission. In the general system of measures to localize and eliminate foci of infectious diseases, the leading place is given to quarantine (observation) measures. They are organized and carried out under the leadership of the relevant territorial private security commissions.

Quarantine as a system of government measures, including regime-isolation, administrative-economic, anti-epidemic, sanitary and treatment-and-prophylactic measures aimed at localizing and eliminating foci of infectious diseases.

The cordoning off (armed guard) of a quarantined territory is intended to ensure its isolation and prevent the spread of infection beyond its borders. It is carried out by the forces and means of the public order service together with military units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the participation of the population. Security posts are set up along the perimeter of the source of infection on the main routes of movement of people and transport. 24-hour patrols are carried out between security posts, strict control over the movement of the population between individual quarantined settlements, restrictive signs and signs are installed, posts are posted on country roads, paths, etc.

To monitor the implementation of the anti-epidemic regime during the exit and entry of the population, the export and import of cargo, special formations are deployed - checkpoints (checkpoints), which include sanitary control points (SCP).

In the complex of anti-epidemic measures in hotbeds of infectious diseases, the leading place is occupied by disinfection of the area, transport, industrial and residential premises, water, food and fodder, as well as patient care items and their secretions.

Emergency prevention is a set of medical measures carried out in relation to people exposed to pathogens of dangerous infections in order to prevent the development of an infectious process in them.

This activity begins immediately - from the moment information appears about people being infected or falling ill with dangerous infections, as well as in case of outbreaks of infectious diseases of unknown etiology in the population.

Emergency prevention is divided into general and special. General emergency prevention is carried out until the type of pathogen that causes the infectious disease is determined. Special emergency prophylaxis is carried out after establishing the type of microorganism, its antibiotic sensitivity and confirmation of the clinical diagnosis in infectious patients.

General emergency prevention is carried out using antibiotics or broad-spectrum chemotherapy drugs. The duration of special emergency prophylaxis is determined taking into account the nosological form of the infectious disease (the duration of its incubation period), the properties of the antimicrobial drugs used, as well as the general emergency prophylaxis carried out previously.

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