(2) Only a few organisms are needed to cause infection by some agents.
Being small enhances the ability of the agents to spread great distances, and float into
places that are not airtight.
(3) Time is required for agents to become ingested and multiply enough to
overcome the body's immune system. Depending on the organism, incubation period
may take hours, days, or even weeks.
(4) Live agents have life cycles in which they grow, reproduce, age, and die.
They usually require protection and nutrition from a host organism while they are alive.
Weather conditions determine if they will be reduced in number or thrive successfully.
Some bacterial agents produce spores that can form protective coats and survive for
longer periods of time, however most live agents last for one day.
(5) Neither of the five physical senses can detect live agents, therefore the
first indication of a biological attack is a sick soldier. Some of these diseases may
spread either directly, or indirectly from soldier to soldier.
(6) Due to the incubation period and life cycle, likely areas for live agent use
are in the combat service support (CSS) area.
(1) Toxins are by-products (poisons) produced by plants, animals, or
microorganisms. Today's technology provides for the production of large quantities of
many toxins. These are poisonous compounds that do not grow, reproduce, or die after
they have been dispersed.
Toxins are more easily controlled than live organisms.
(3) Field monitors to immediately detect the presence of toxins in the area
are not available.
(4) Signs and symptoms from exposure to toxins are similar to those of a
chemical attack, but the first aid treatment for chemicals will not work against toxins.
(5) Lethal or injury downwind hazard zones for toxins may be far greater
than those of chemical agents.
Toxins can be dispensed alone or with other carriers or agents.
(7) Some toxins have symptoms that mimic other illness or chemical
casualty symptoms. They may include any of the following:
(a) Tingling of skin, numbness, paralysis, or convulsions.