Bioterror Threat

The Story

Terror attacks around the world have put New York City on heightened alert. The NYPD is stepping up its presence in high-profile areas and advising truck and van rental dealerships to take notice of suspicious inquiries. But the threat of bioterrorism, which can be unseen, presents unique security and other logistical challenges to any densely populated area. New York must increase its readiness for a potential bioterror attack and broaden public awareness about the threat.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Containment: Each of New York’s 240 skyscrapers, more than double that of any other American city, has self-contained ventilation systems that are vulnerable to the introduction of pathogens. Read more.

  2. Logistics: While adequate supplies of vaccines and other countermeasures exist, distribution in the event of a bioterror attack poses significant logistical challenges. Read more.

  3. Spread: A 1966 test of bacterial dispersion in the subway demonstrated that agents spread throughout the system rapidly. Read more.     

“Subways are attractive targets for terrorists to release a biological weapon due to the low physical security and rapid agent dispersion from train and passenger activity.”

Department of Homeland Security

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Bioterrorism’s Deadly Math By Judith Miller (Autumn 2008)

The White House wanted to know: How much safer are Americans today than they were on October 4, 2001?”

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