How to prepare for an influenza pandemic

A Hypothetical Influenza Pandemic

Terrorists working in a bioweapons lab in Pakistan complete their work on a new strain of avian/bird flu, or H5N1. They have labored for 18 months to engineer an influenza virus that is easily passed from person to person.

Finally they have succeeded.

Twelve very excited martyrs with turbans are assembled and exposed to the virus.

Today, they will be responsible for the death of millions of innocent men, women, and children. They believe this will secure a place for them in heaven with dozens of virgins at their disposal. They could not be happier.

After exposure to the deadly virus, the twelve men board international flights for destinations such as London, Rome, New York, and Moscow. As the planes achieve cruising altitude, the infected men are already sneezing and coughing, spreading the H5N1 virus quickly to the other unsuspecting passengers.

As the flights land and the passengers board their connecting flights, each newly infected passenger infects 100 other passengers. The virus is spread globally in a matter of hours. Within 18 hours the twelve Islamists are dead, and twelve more infected martyrs are intentionally infecting the crowds at NFL football games across the United States.

In cities around the world, the hospitals begin to fill with sick people exhibiting flu-like symptoms: coughing, sneezing, runny nose.

influenza pandemicPeople begin to die en masse in the packed waiting rooms. As the antibiotic and vaccine supply is quickly exhausted, the new strain of virus is identified and research begins on a new vaccine.

The vaccine will take months to develop and produce. Soon the hospitals are overflowing with dying patients as the medical personnel also become sick and begin to die.

Many nurses and doctors stop going to work in an attempt to save their own families.

Rumors spread about the influenza virus, and so does the panic. The interstates surrounding major cities are clogged with people attempting to flee, but the traffic jams only help to propagate the disease.

Thousands die at their steering wheels, adding their vehicles to the vast roadblocks which stretch for miles in all directions.

People are now dying faster than they can be buried. Ice skating rinks are used as morgues. 38 hospitals nationwide are closed. Hotels in Philadephia and Washington, D.C., are seized and converted into makeshift hospitals. The National Guard is called up in Texas to preserve order at the few hospitals that are still open.

Four major newspapers receive letters from the terrorist organizations which are responsible for the disaster, detailing what they have done. The terrorists no longer want to keep it a secret, knowing that as the news spreads, so will the terror.

The virus continues to spread at a geometric rate. Texas closes its public schools and borders, but it is far too late. Eight other states follow suit within 24 hours.

Trade is suspended on the New York Stock Exchange. The supply system begins to fail and rumors of food shortages begin to circulate.

Panic buying ensues, which quickly degenerates into riots and looting. As the networks spread the news and the fear, the riots escalate. Stores in urban centers are picked clean, and then burned. National Guard, police, and fire department personnel stop going to work as they try to isolate their families from the disease and the anarchy.

influenza pandemicOver a period of 6 days, 85% of Los Angeles is burned to the ground. Philadelphia and Detroit suffer the same fate 2 days later. Inner city citizens ravage and destroy their own neighbourhood and homes.

Now in addition to being sick and hungry, they are homeless. Vaccine riots wipe out Atlanta. The only way out of the cities now is to walk or ride a bicycle. Bicycles change hands frequently as their riders are murdered.

The desperate hordes of people who stream from the cities out into the countryside on foot do not fare much better. Entire families die of starvation and exposure along the suburban roadsides. Countless other people lose their lives attempting to steal food and supplies.

The federal government bans public gatherings and declares martial law. Travel is banned and quarantines are enforced. Looters are shot on sight.

A federal laboratory in Maryland finally develops a vaccine and begins to mass produce it. One week later, terrorists in Washington, D.C. send forth more Islamic martyrs carrying a new strain of influenza virus. Since this virus has been intentionally mutated again, it is resistant to the newly developed vaccine. This greatly complicates the work of those who are trying to save the population, but the terrorists have an unanticipated problem; the global economy and transportation have collapsed. Millions have died. The only way to spread the disease now is by individuals, and isolated communities have erected barricades, shooting strangers on sight. The spread of the new wave of influenza is much slower.

Eventually the Islamic terrorist organizations are stamped out and the vaccines are distributed. Small communities of survivors band together and attempt to rebuild civilization. This will take many years because 75% of the global population has perished.

[Author’s note: a projected 75% mortality rate is actually quite low. The UN’s pandemic czar has warned that a terrorist-sponsored pandemic could cause the “virtual extinction of humankind.”]

How To Prepare For an Influenza Pandemic

A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads to several continents, usually involving a new strain of virus. While a smaller scale epidemic may sicken those with weak immune systems such as the very young or elderly, a pandemic is much less selective and much more virulent.

Understanding influenza

influenza pandemic subtypes

Plague and cholera pandemics have occurred several times in history, but the current pandemic concern is influenza.

[Tweet “A truly global influenza pandemic strikes every 30-50 years. #SHTF #PrepperTalk”]

In 1918, an influenza pandemic remembered as the “Spanish Flu” killed 30 million people. People would wake up and feel a bit feverish, then die before nightfall.

One of the frightening aspects of the 1918 influenza pandemic was that it struck down young, healthy adults who would have survived a normal flu outbreak. Equally troubling about the influenza virus is the speed with which it mutates, making vaccines extremely difficult to manufacture.

Symptoms and treatment

Influenza is spread by contact. Symptoms include fever, cough, lethargy, loss of appetite, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and joint pain.

Occasionally symptoms might include vomiting and diarrhoea. There is no effective cure for influenza.

Treatment consists of antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza.

Peramivir is another antiviral drug, but used only with hospitalized patients. Peramivir is an intravenous drug approved for use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. Treatment of antiviral drugs should be administered within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. The influenza virus is resistant to older flu drugs.

Swine flu (H1N1)

The H1N1 strain of the influenza virus has caused mild seasonal flu patterns since 1977 and was not a major concern until 2009.

However, In 2009 an unrelated and new strain of the H1N1 virus caused a global stir as it spread worldwide, affecting nearly every country. This new strain became known as “swine flu” because it first jumped to humans from live pigs as it mutated.

It is important to understand that the H1N1 pandemic is spread now from human to human, and not from pigs.

Most of the deaths since 2009 occurred in young, healthy adults, alarmingly similar to the 1918 influenza pandemic. Since the H1N1 pandemic now involves a new strain of virus, people have no immunity and thousands have died as a result.

[Tweet “The H1N1 pandemic is spread now from human to human, and not from pigs. #PrepperTalk”]

Avian influenza (“BIRD FLU”)

H5N1 is a relatively new strain of virus on the world stage. In some cases the virus has been contracted from infected poultry, and it is deadly.

Scientists worldwide are concerned because at some point it may mutate into a virus which can be transmitted from human to human. At that point the death toll will be staggering as the virus spreads quickly from person to person via intercontinental travel.

Red alert

The World Health Organization (WHO) closely monitors flu cases globally because the next influenza pandemic is a major concern. The WHO has a system of six phases to classify the pandemic threat condition:

  1. Phase 1: No influenza outbreaks.
  2. Phase 2: A new virus has been found in animals, but not humans.
  3. Phase 3: Humans have been infected by animal strains of virus, but the infection has not spread from person-to-person.
  4. Phase 4: Infection has spread on a limited basis from person-to-person, but only in a localized region.
  5. Phase 5: The virus is spreading quickly from person-to-person, but is limited to one area.
  6. Phase 6: The virus has spread worldwide in pandemic proportions.

Due to the H5N1 virus, we are now at Phase 3.

The virus can currently only infect humans who are exposed to sick birds. However, it cannot jump from human to human.

If it mutates further and can be transmitted from person-to-person, we will move quickly through the phases to Phase 6- pandemic.

What to expect in an influenza pandemic

According to the World Health Organization, the next pandemic will spread rapidly worldwide because of so much international travel.

Antibiotics and vaccines will quickly run out because the pandemic will involve a new virus. It will be months before new vaccines are available to combat the new strain of virus.

Hospitals will be overwhelmed with sick and dying patients. The shortage of medical personnel will become more pronounced as the virus spreads, adding to the death toll.

Terrorism and influenza

Officials are much less worried about a naturally occurring pandemic than the intentional spreading of influenza by Islamic terrorists. It is possible to “bio-engineer” the virus so that it spreads easily and quickly from person to person. One intentionally infected terrorist, probably carrying avian flu, could attend a football game or a NASCAR race, infecting thousands in a geometric progression.

A more likely terrorist plot would involve several infected Islamic martyrs boarding a dozen simultaneous international flights. The sneezing and coughing terrorists would infect the other passengers and spread the virus globally in a matter of hours.

Since the virus would be a new mutation, it would take months to synthesize a vaccine. The death toll would reach into the hundreds of millions. All international travel would be stopped as the borders were closed, but it would be far too late. Within 3 weeks, the supply system would grind to a halt. Panic buying and food shortages would follow immediately, along with riots and martial law.

Efforts to contain the pandemic would be hampered by the ongoing efforts of the terrorists to spread the virus. There is no shortage of Islamic martyrs. The UN’s drug czar has warned that this could be the “virtual extinction of mankind.”

How do I prepare for a pandemic

  1. Stay Healthy Now– Eat a healthy well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep. These three things will help keep your immune system strong. Don’t smoke and don’t overindulge in alcohol on a regular basis. Booze saps nutrients, which weakens the immune system.
  2. Avoid Sick People– Try to stay away from people who have flu-like symptoms as much as possible.
  3. Wash Your Hands– Influenza is spread by contact. Develop the habit of washing your hands several times a day with anti-bacterial soap and water, or alcohol-based hand cleaner that you can use at your desk or in your vehicle.
  4. Emergency Kit– Build an emergency kit in case you have to stay home for several days or, in a worst case scenario, leave home immediately. This kit should have all the essential items that you might need in a crisis: bottled water, canned foods, MRE’s, flashlights, batteries, medications, 1st Aid Kits, etc. You might purchase one or two 72-hour Survival Kits such as those available at Nitro-Pak.com and then add specific items that suit your needs.

3 of the most lethal toxins that could be used in SHTF biological warfare

Ricin

Ricin is a lethal biological warfare agent. It is a deadly poison that is made from the waste left over from processing castor beans (castor bean poison ).

More specifically, it is made from the seeds found within the castor beans.

Ricin can be produced in a powder, pellet or liquid form, but a terrorist attack utilizing ricin would most likely involve an airborne sprayer-type delivery system so that the poison is inhaled.

If inhaled, ricin prevents cells from producing proteins and ultimately destroys the lung tissues. This causes difficulty breathing, coughing, fever, chest tightness, and leads to respiratory failure.

Injection of ricin has been utilized in assassinations, such as the murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov on September 11, 1978.

He was standing at a crowded bus stop in London when an unknown assassin in the crowd stabbed him in the leg with an umbrella which had been adapted to inject a poison ricin pellet under his skin.

He developed a high fever that evening, and held on for three miserable days before dying. Markov had been openly critical of the Bulgarian government on radio on several occasions, and they finally enlisted the help of the Russian KGB to eliminate the problem.

There is no treatment, drug, or antitoxin for ricin poisoning.

Ebola

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often-fatal disease caused by infection with Ebola virus, one of the most virulent viruses known.

It is a total nightmare because of the horrible, frightening effect it has on its victims.

Ebola is moderately infectious, but extremely lethal. It was named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) in Africa, where it was first recognized in 1976.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “the virus is one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called the Filoviridae.

The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons.

People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

The incubation period for Ebola ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.

As the virus spreads to the major organs, intense systemic pain begins as the body tissue begins to basically liquefy. The blood vessels rupture and hemorrhage.

Copious bleeding internally and from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and other openings is followed by agonizing death from systemic shock and dropping blood pressure.

Ebola incites instant and total panic wherever it appears because of the horrible and brutal death that results.

This makes it of great interest to biochemical terrorists. There is no standard treatment for Ebola infection, only supportive hospital therapy to replace fluids. Some people do survive an Ebola infection, and it is not known why.

Ebola is fatal in 50-90% of cases.

Smallpox

Ebola is not as easy to transmit as smallpox.

Smallpox is caused by the virus Variola major, which is very contagious and very deadly. When the victim coughs or sneezes, the virus spreads to people in close proximity as they breath the airborne virus.

Smallpox is also spread by direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects such as bedding or clothing.

The virus can survive for months in infected bedding, clothing, or even dust infected with smallpox pustules.

Tragically, Native American Indians were killed by the thousands during the 1800’s when settlers intentionally gave them smallpox-infected blankets.

Smallpox symptoms begin 10-14 days after exposure and initially consist of fever followed by a rash several days later.

The Variola virus replicates first in the lymph nodes, and later in the spleen and liver.

Before the Variola virus was eliminated (outside of labs) in 1977, it killed over 500 million people during the 20th century.

Two facilities, one in the US and one in the former Soviet Union, are supposedly the only labs to store the Variola major virus, ostensibly in case it was needed for a vaccine.

It is now known that the former Soviet Union did research to weaponize Variola major, combining it with the Ebola virus and equine encephalomyelitis to make even more potent bioweapons.

It is also well-known that the security of such weapons in the former Soviet Union is now in question.

Germ warfare scientists, possibly for hire, are also streaming out of Iraq since the Persian Gulf War, and out of South Africa since apartheid collapsed.

Since it has been eradicated, at least in nature, any cases of smallpox that appear will certainly be due to some form of attack. There is no treatment for smallpox, only vaccination.

Historically, smallpox has a fatality rate of 30%.

Terrorism and Tularemia: Don’t let ’em catch you off-guard

Tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever,” is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis.

It is usually carried by rabbits, ticks, and deer flies, but can be carried by many other animals as well.

Hunters and trappers are at a higher risk for this disease because of the potential for inhaling the bacteria while skinning the carcass.

Tularemia is also contracted from tick bites, eating infected animal meat that is undercooked, and from drinking water contaminated by an infected carcass.

How is Tularemia Transmitted

Tularemia is not spread directly from person to person.

Francisella tularensis is an intracellular bacterium, meaning that it is able to live as a parasite within host cells.

It primarily infects macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell. Since macrophages are an integral part of the immune system, this bacterium then spreads to multiple organ systems, including the lungs, liver, spleen, and lymphatic system.

Symptoms of Tularemia/deer fly fever symptoms

Symptoms may develop up to two weeks after infection, but 3-5 days is the typical timeframe.

Tularemia contracted by inhalation is much more dangerous than if contracted through skin contact.

Symptoms include:

  1. A fever
  2. Swollen lymph nodes
  3. Sore throat
  4. Difficulty breathing
  5. Chest pain
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Diarrhea
  8. vomiting.

Ulcers (tularemia skin lesions) usually develop on the skin at the site of infection. More severe cases usually develop into pneumonia. Treatment consists of antibiotics, usually streptomycin or gentamicin.

Tularemia is one of the most infectious pathogenic bacteria known. In fact, the bacterium Francisella tularensis is renowned for causing infections among researchers in laboratories at the slightest opportunity.

This trait, combined with the fact that it works very well in aerosol sprayers, makes it a prime alternative for a terrorist with a crop duster or similar device.

A report from the World Health Organization projected a casualty rate of 250,000, including 19,000 deaths, if Francisella tularensis were sprayed on a city of five million people or more.

History

The Japanese used Francisella tularensis against the Chinese in World War II, as well as typhoid, smallpox, anthrax, glanders, cholera, and a long list of other agents.

The United States did research on it until 1970.

The Soviets have had a longstanding interest in tularemia and weaponized it extensively in their Biopreparat biological agent weapons program.

With that program in disarray after the Soviet collapse, the security of the stored Biopreparat weapons has come into question.

Who has those weapons now?

Preparing for the botulism Bioterrorism Attack: Preparedness is never overrated

Another bacterium which could be used as a biological weapon is Clostridium botulinum, which causes botulism.

Like anthrax, botulinum bacteria form spores and go into a dormant phase when not in a host. Also like anthrax, botulinum bacteria do not kill you- it is the toxins which they produce as they are growing that can be fatal.

The Clostridium botulinum spores themselves are not so bad, because they are actually all around us. You unknowingly ingest them every day and they are harmless. The problem is that when they are allowed to grow into vegetative cells, they produce a deadly nerve toxin that causes botulism, and even tiny amounts of that toxin can kill you.

The botulinum toxin (Botox) is one of the strongest poisons on earth, 100,000 times stronger than Sarin nerve gas. One gram of botulinum poison could kill more than one million people if the delivery/dispersal system problem could be solved.

Problem solving

Unfortunately, certain nations which are hostile to the United States are working on solving that delivery problem.

There is now a man-made, respiratory version of what nature has provided.

The good news is that it is a prohibitively expensive and sophisticated process to weaponize the botulinum toxin.

Still, North Korea and Iran are experimenting with it, isolating the deadlier strains of the toxin-producing bacterium and coupling it with a compatible air spray delivery system.

Iran even used botulinum toxin in bombs during the Gulf War.

All strains of botulinum bacteria produce toxin, but some are much deadlier than others.

Symptoms of botulism

Botulism symptoms include:

  1. Double vision
  2. Blurred vision
  3. Slurred speech
  4. Difficulty swallowing
  5. Dry mouth
  6. And muscle weakness.

Later, the muscle-weakening effects move down the body, spreading to the other muscles.

The botulinum toxin kills by paralysis.

It does this by blocking the messages from the nerves to the muscles, rendering the muscles useless.

Since the botulinum toxin is a large molecule and cannot cross the blood-brain barrier of the brain, the victim stays awake and is mentally unimpaired as the paralysis spreads.

Death is usually caused by respiratory failure as the toxin overtakes the respiratory muscles and renders them useless.

Botulism treatment

Treatment consists of an antitoxin made from the blood of horses that have been exposed to the botulinum toxin.

However, the antitoxin only prevents further damage. It does not reverse any muscle paralysis that the botulinum toxin has already caused. After several weeks of treatment, however, the paralysis does slowly improve.

In the event of a sprayed biological agent attack, your best bet is to cover your mouth with a wet cloth, leave the area as fast as possible, and seek medical help immediately.

The antitoxin is available 24/7 through the Center For Disease Control.

Like anthrax, botulism is not contagious.

Preparing for an anthrax terror attack: The preppers definitive guide

Perhaps the most feared biological weapon at a terrorist’s disposal is the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, or anthrax.

Anthrax is a major concern because it is extremely deadly, stores easily, is relatively easy to synthesize, and can be delivered on a large scale killing large numbers of people.

The anthrax bacteria can only survive for 24 hours or less outside a host’s body. The problem with Bacillus anthracis is that it forms spores in this situation, which basically involves a dormant phase with a protective shell. These spores can lie dormant for centuries, then become active again once inside a host.

How does one contract anthrax?

Anthrax can be contracted from the air, from food, and through the skin.

If inhaled, initial symptoms are similar to the flu: coughing, headache, fever, chest discomfort, tiredness, and muscle aches.

Once in the lungs, the anthrax spores “wake up” and begin producing cell-damaging toxins which destroy lung tissue. The lungs then fill with fluids, which interferes with oxygenation of the blood.

From the lungs, the bacteria easily enter the blood stream and the infection then becomes systemic, which is usually fatal.

If contracted through food, usually in the form of tainted meat, initial symptoms resemble food poisoning: nausea, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and sore throat.

Later, the abdominal pain worsens and abdominal swelling is noted, along with bloody diarrhea and an ulcerated tongue.

Ulcerations also form along the stomach and intestines where the bacteria spores make contact.

Just as with lung infections, the spores now become active and begin producing cell-damaging toxins which destroy gastrointestinal tissue before spreading to the rest of the body.

If the skin has been exposed to anthrax, it develops small sores that later turn ulcerous. The ulcers eventually develop a black scab in the center.

Inhaled anthrax bacteria is usually fatal, whereas anthrax from food is about 50% fatal and infection from skin is approximately 20% fatal.

Immediate antibiotic treatment is critical before the bacteria begin producing the deadly toxins. This is imperative because even though the drugs kill the bacteria, there is no stopping the fatal toxin once it is produced.

Anthrax is not contagious.

Terrorism & Plague

In its various forms, plague has killed over 200 million people worldwide.

There are three types of plague: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. They are all caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis.

Bubonic plague

In the fourteenth century, bubonic plague, also known as the “black death,” killed over 20 million people in Europe. Yersinia pestis was carried in the blood stream of black rats, and in the fleas that fed on them.

The human victims contracted the bacterial infection from fleas that had bitten infected mice and rats.

Today, bubonic plague is usually contracted this same way. Once inside the host, the Yersinia pestis bacteria replicate in the groin and axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes, causing swelling.

The bacteria then spread systemically. If the bacteria reach the lungs, pneumonic plague can result.

Symptoms begin within a week after exposure and death results within about three days of symptom onset if not treated with antibiotics.

Pneumonic plague

Pneumonic plague is also caused by Yersinia pestis. Infection is usually achieved through the lungs and it is a very contagious, airborne disease. For this reason, pneumonic plague is the form of Yersinia pestis that is most expected to be used in a terrorist attack.

Turning pneumonic plague into a weapon though, would be a prohibitively expensive and sophisticated process.

BIOPREPARAT

Very few laboratories have the technical knowledge or equipment to weaponize pneumonic plague, but Soviet laboratories have both.

Biopreparat, the largest biological and toxin weapons program in the world, is the Soviet biological weapons program.

At one time Biopreparat employed 32,000 scientists and staff. At various times, 60,000 to 70,000 Soviet scientists and technicians worked on bioweapons before the Soviet breakup.

It is widely feared that these underpaid Russian scientists who are now leaving the country in a mass exodus will sell their knowledge, technology, and even the toxins themselves to the highest bidder, including terrorists.

Many of these toxins such as anthrax, tularemia, smallpox, etc. are unaccounted for in the disarray and confusion of the Soviet breakup. Ironically, US grants helped fund Biopreparat in the 1990’s through diverted NASA funds.

The Soviets were also less than thorough in the disposal of their bioweapons.

A good example is their disastrous attempt to hide tons of canisters containing anthrax spores on the island of Vozrozhdeniye in the Aral Sea in 1988.

They made a haphazard effort to kill the spores with bleach before burying them.

They were not entirely successful, according to the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. This has been confirmed by Dr. Ken Alibek, the former deputy chief of Biopreparat.

The Soviets routinely tested various other agents such as smallpox, tularemia, typhus, brucellosis, glanders, and plague on the island as well.

Two rivers that feed the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, and it has now lost over half its size. Because of this shrinkage of the Aral Sea, the island is now readily accessible by land.

The connection between Sarin Gas, Aum Shinrikyo, Al Qaeda and the 9/11

Nerve agents (also called nerve gases) are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are preferred military weapons because they are so deadly but decay quickly after initial use and become harmless.

Nerve agents are similar to insect pesticides known as “organophosphates.”

They work much like organophosphates and the types of harmful effects are very similar, but nerve agents are much more potent.

Nerve gases are usually liquid at room temperature.

Sarin Gas

Germany first developed sarin, one of the most noted nerve agents, in 1938 as a pesticide.

Sarin is clear, tasteless liquid that has no odor. It can evaporate into a gas, but it usually spreads slowly in this form.

Pure sarin gas is 26 times more deadly than cyanide. Symptoms include runny nose, watery eyes, small pinpoint pupils, blurred vision, drooling, sweating, chest tightness, nausea, and headache.

The gas would not be difficult to synthesize, but it would require massive amounts and the right weather conditions to be an effective terrorist weapon.

Treatment for sarin gas poisoning

Treatment for exposure to nerve agents such as sarin gas consists of a compound called atropine.

Some soldiers are issued kits that contain auto-injectors of atropine, pralidoxime chloride, and diazepam.

Pralidoxime chloride, also known as 2-PAM, blocks the effects of nerve gas.

Diazepam, or generic Valium, is normally given to patients in order to stop an active seizure, or to curb severe anxiety. It can also be used as a pre-treatment drug for nerve agent exposure, or at the onset of severe symptoms of nerve agent exposure.

Iraq and the Kurds

Nerve agents have never been deployed in warfare, except by the Iraqis in the Iraq/Iran War of 1980-88.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, “Saddam Hussein used sarin on the Kurds in northern Iraq during a 1987-88 campaign known as the Anfal.”

It is also suspected that chemical warfare agents were used directly against United States soldiers in Iraq during the Gulf conflict, producing a set of symptoms now referred to as the “Gulf War Syndrome.”

The symptoms included digestive and respiratory problems, fatigue, and severe flu-like symptoms.

Some have postulated the theory that no coalition forces died from the chemical agents because the Iraqis wanted to wound our soldiers, not kill them, since wounded soldiers require more attention and resources than dead ones.

This is not a unique approach to warfare, and is reminiscent of the strategy behind the Viet Cong booby traps in the jungles of Southeast Asia, many of which were designed to inflict horrible wounds on US soldiers without killing them.

Aum Shinriyko

Impure sarin was used as a weapon in 1994 by the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo.

On June 27, refrigerated trucks with spraying mechanisms were driven to Matsumoto, targeting three judges who were set to hear a case against the group.

The plan was to keep the judges from hearing the case.

In the sarin attack that followed, seven people died and hundreds more were injured, including the three judges. The plan worked.

On March 20, 1995, five members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult boarded five different subway trains in Tokyo, each carrying an umbrella with a sharpened steel tip, multiple packages of sarin liquid, and a hypodermic syringe containing atropine sulfate.

The plan was to simultaneously release the gas in crowded subway cars on the different trains.

Like Muslim terrorists, these Aum Shinrikyo members considered murder a religious act, even a holy act, that would bring salvation and a heavenly reward.

They believed that capitalism and America are a source of decay and are enslaving the world, and it was up to the cult members to save the people from this evil influence.

They viewed the people on the trains as capitalistic puppets and instruments of wickedness.

Aum Shinrikyo members were methodically brainwashed using video tapes, sermons, LSD, electric shock therapy, torture, and low-voltage headsets which pass currents through the brain to “implant the correct thought patterns.”

In fact, the members of the cult consumed such massive amounts of LSD that the cult manufactured its own drugs in laboratories.

Aum Shinrikyo means “ all in the supreme truth.” At one time the Aum Shinrikyo cult had over 40,000 members and over one billion dollars in assets, mostly from donations and illegal activities.

They spent tens of millions of dollars on weapons programs, developing the capacity to produce 70 tons of sarin, enough to wipe out Tokyo’s population.

In six elaborate laboratories, they produced phosgene, cyanide, and the nerve agent VX.

They also developed biological weapons, including botulism and anthrax. They bought military hardware from poverty-stricken Russia, including a helicopter for spraying deadly chemicals, and made inquiries about buying nuclear weapons.

Subway Sarin attack

At precisely 8am that Monday morning, the five men placed the bags of sarin, wrapped in newspapers, on the floor of the subway cars and punctured them using the sharpened umbrella tips as they exited onto the platform.

The liquid leaked out and turned to gas, poisoning the unsuspecting commuters.

As the men individually headed for their pre-arranged post-attack rendezvous, one of them began to suffer nerve gas symptoms and injected himself with his atropine syringe.

Twelve people were killed in the Tokyo subways and 1,300 others were seriously injured. Thousands more had lesser injuries. Emergency services were overwhelmed. Hospitals were packed and crowded with the sick and dying victims.

Some of the sarin bags were ineffectively punctured by the men in their haste to get off the train, so the leakage and the effect on the commuters was limited, compared to what it could have been.

The sarin was also crudely manufactured. If the sarin had been properly refined, the death toll would have been in the thousands.

It later came to light that a less pious motive for the attack was involved. Aum Shinrikyo had learned that the cult headquarters was to be raided by the police, and the subway attack was supposed to sidetrack them, making them go after other targets.

In addition, the police headquarters was located next door to the attacked subway station, an added attraction. There was also the hope by the insane cult leader that the attack would be blamed on America, triggering a mutually destructive world war and leaving only the Aum Shinrikyo cult standing.

This time the plan failed.

Two days after the attack, 2,500 police officers raided 25 Aum Shinrikyo properties throughout Japan.

Chemicals, laboratory equipment, and documents were seized.

In the following months, over 500 raids were made against Aum Shinrikyo.

More than 50 children were taken into care, many of them still wearing the low-voltage brainwashing headsets. 400 people were arrested, along with the cult leader.

This was the first terrorist use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Aum Shinrikyo and Al Qaeda

The Tokyo subway attack bears an alarming resemblance to the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

The Japanese underestimated Aum Shinrikyo, just as America underestimated Al Qaeda.

Both Aum Shinrikyo and al Qaeda hated and resented America. Both were extremely well-funded from donations and illegal activities. Both attacks targeted civilians, and both considered the murder of women and small children to be a holy act that would send them to heaven.

The ultimate preppers guide to biological disaster preparedness

Two of the most feared methods of terrorist attack are biological and chemical weapons. An attack using either of these will likely employ one of two strategies.

Scenario #1: Overt Biological Attack

The biochemical attack may be overt, such as a crop-duster spraying an agent such as anthrax over a NASCAR race crowd of spectators.

There are over 3,000 crop dusters in the United States and each plane can carry several hundred gallons of liquid.

After the 9/11 attacks, defensive measures were enacted to deter the use of crop dusters for spraying biological warfare agents on unsuspecting crowds or cities.

These measures include the installation of hidden kill switches and increased security on the planes. The nozzles on crop duster sprayers are specially adapted to spray large droplets that fall to the ground quickly, maximizing the application of the chemicals on the crops.

Farmers do not want the wind to blow the chemicals away before they reach the ground. This is the exact opposite of what a bioweapons terrorist needs.

A biochemical terrorist needs an aerosol spray that will float on the air for as long as possible, so that it has a higher chance of being inhaled by a victim.

Only when the bioweapon such as Tularemia finds it way into the lungs will it be effective, so it has to float in an invisible aerosol form as long as possible. A terrorist wanting to use a crop duster to spray bioweapons would need to alter the sprayer nozzles to form an aerosol spray.
The actual fatalities from such an action would probably be very few because spraying applications depend heavily on favorable weather conditions, and because extremely large amounts of the agent would be required for effectiveness.

In addition, such an obvious attack would garner an immediate and large-scale response for decontamination and treatment by the government, limiting the scope of the disease.

Thus, the true damage of such an attack would not be its fatalities, which would be comparatively few. The problem would be the response of the public at being attacked with such dreaded biological or chemical weapons.

The full-blown panic that would result would have a devastating effect on the nation’s morale and sense of safety.

The unrelenting media feeding frenzy that would ensue would only exacerbate the terror that would grip the masses, and there would be catastrophic economic consequences if people were afraid to leave their homes in the months that followed the attack.

This is the type of response that terrorists count on by definition, and the devastating economic repercussions could be far-reaching.

Scenario #2: Subtle Attack

A second possible scenario would not involve such an ostentatious display.

If the attackers decided to go for the mortality rate as well as the terror factor, a more subtle and slow-working plan would be initiated.

For instance, instead of flying over the same NASCAR crowd, the attack might consist of sending several terrorists intentionally infected with smallpox or plague to mix with the crowd, spreading the disease to hundreds of people.

The infected people from the sporting event would then return to their homes and spread the contagious disease nation-wide. This would almost certainly be a suicide mission for the infected terrorists, which they have proven that they are perfectly willing and capable of undertaking.

What about biological weapons?

Biological weapons, or bioweapons, are basically weapons that involve bacteria, viruses, or toxins. They are odorless, tasteless, and colorless.

Biological weapons are not hard to produce or deliver, and are inexpensive compared to chemical or nuclear weapons. The effectiveness of a biological weapon can be measured in terms of its lethality, ease in manufacturing, and infectivity.

The most likely biological weapons we will face at the hands of terrorists are anthrax, botulism, tularemia, plague, ricin, Ebola, and smallpox.

Chemical weapons

A chemical weapon is defined by NATO as a chemical substance that is intended for military use to kill, injure, or incapacitate people.

Chemical weapons are simply man-made poisons that are deployed in the form of vapors, liquids, or solids. They are usually odorless and tasteless, but are difficult to produce and deliver in lethal doses.

Chemical weapons are generally inexpensive to produce and can be delivered with missiles, bombs, aerial sprayers, and a whole host of other methods.

They are limited though, by the weather, wind, and their excessive bulk.

Chemical weapons can be made at home using chemicals that are readily available. There are approximately 70 different chemicals that would make suitable chemical weapons, but only a few are likely to be employed by terrorists.

The most likely chemical weapons we will face at the hands of terrorists are mustard gas, phosgene oxime, cyanide, chlorine, phosgene (not to be confused with phosgene oxime), and various nerve agents.

How to prep for a biochemical attack

NBC (nuclear, biologic, chemical) agents in general are difficult to prepare for. However, airtight masks, such as the N95 protective respiratory mask, and suits would have to be obtained, with special care not to purchase obsolete or defective ones.

That raises an interesting question:

How do you know if your new gas mask will actually work?

There is no guarantee that the expensive suit and mask that you paid dearly for will actually work as well as the nice salesman promised. That is assuming that you will even have time to get your NBC gear on when the attack starts.

United States Marines in basic training used to be told: “When you see your fellow Marines falling over in convulsions, you know it is too late to put your mask on.”

That axiom still applies.

By the time you have figured out that you need a gas mask, it is most likely too late. That assumes, of course, that you will have it with you every moment of every day, everywhere you go.

That is simply not feasible.

Since there are very few reliable biological or chemical warfare sensors in our society, it is likely that your first clue will be when the people around you develop watery eyes and start coughing, gasping, choking, and twitching violently. At that point, the gas mask in your closet at home will do you no good.

It may be noted that while these masks would have been handy for the survivors of the September 11 attacks to filter out the incredible amount of fine dust and airborne debris generated by the collapsing buildings, it is highly unlikely that anyone except emergency personnel would have been carrying one. For most people, it just isn’t feasible to carry an NBC mask everywhere they go.

Spend your money on something that is more likely to be used.

  1. NBC masks and suits are also incredibly hot and cumbersome. The suit must be airtight and the mask has to fit very snugly.
  2. They are extremely uncomfortable, which means you are less likely to wear them on a daily basis as you wait for the attack.
  3. The masks have specific activated carbon filters for the specific deployed agent. Visibility in the mask is extremely poor, and the lenses have a tendency to fog up.

Building an NBC shelter is not a viable option, for the same reasons. NBC shelters are also very expensive and very difficult to build properly.

The safe room

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, advises that the best way to prepare for a biological or chemical attack is to assemble a kit of duct tape, scissors, and plastic sheeting.

Choose an internal room, preferably with no windows, as the designated chemical safe room.

The basement is not a good place for your chemical safe room because most chemical warfare gas clouds have a tendency to settle into lower areas, since they are heavier than air.

The plastic sheeting should be pre-measured and cut for each door, window and vent in the safe room.

In the event of an attack, turn off all heating and air conditioning systems and seal your chosen chemical safe room with the duct tape and pre-measured and pre-cut plastic sheeting.

Ten square feet of floor space per person will provide enough air for five hours or more. Since chemical and biological agent applications tend to be of short duration, that should be a safe enough time period.

An even better idea would be to have an NBC air filtration system for your safe room (see Nuclear Shelters). But beware of carbon dioxide poisoning.

Having a food reserve and plenty of water will enable you to stay put and hopefully out of danger. You will need enough supplies to get through the quarantines and empty store shelves which will be caused by the disrupted food supply chain. Thus, general preparedness is the secret to successfully getting ready for a biological or chemical attack.

Away from home

If a biological or chemical attack utilizing an unknown agent occurs while you are away from home, cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth such as a T-shirt or towel and immediately leave the area.

  • Move against the wind and up-hill as you evacuate. Against the wind is recommended because a sprayed agent will travel with the wind to a great extent.
  • Up-hill travel is recommended because most agents, either biological or chemical, tend to settle in lower areas. There are of course exceptions, such as cyanide, but cyanide dissipates and rises very quickly outdoors.
  • Try to take shallow breaths while in the affected area. Cover exposed skin and try to find shelter.
  • Monitor the television or radio stations, and if public-health officials tell you to stay put for a while, then do so until they say it is safe to move. The air may still be laden with deadly agents.
  • If it does not impede your escape, keep your eyes closed.
  • As soon as possible, remove clothes and rinse skin with as much water as possible. Place the contaminated clothing in a sealed, double trash bag.
  • Flush your eyes with water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Seek medical attention as soon as it is safe to go out.

Isolation

Terrorist attacks can involve chemical agents, commercial airliners, economic chaos, inciting panic, or disrupting the food supply system in a wide variety of ways.

The best way that you can prepare for such disruptions is to have some supplies on hand so that you can stay isolated from the threat and weather the storm until it blows over.

According to former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, “The race is on between our preparations and those of our adversaries. We are preparing for the possibility of a chemical or biological attack on American soil because we must. There is not a moment to lose.”