A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops.
Delivery methods include:
- Aerosols - biological agents are dispersed into the air, forming a fine mist that may drift for miles.
- Animals - some diseases are spread by insects and animals.
- Food and water contamination - some pathogenic organisms and toxins may persist in food and water supplies. Most microbes can be killed, and toxins deactivated, by cooking food and boiling water. Follow official instructions.
- Person-to-person - Humans have been the source of infection for smallpox, plague, and the Lassa viruses.
Specific information on biological agents is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.