Not all worrisome infectious diseases target humans. Some target animals and the consequences can be devastating, not just for local ecosystems but for the economy. Such diseases should be monitored as potential agents of bioterrorism.
Disease X -- a yet unseen deadly infectious disease with an epidemic potential for which no countermeasures exist -- has recently been added to WHO's Blueprint list of priority diseases of concern to public health. While we don’t know what Disease X might be, it reflects the fact that a future pandemic threat may be unexpected.
To this question, James Mattis once famously answered, "Nothing. I keep other people awake at night." But not everybody is as courageously confident as this General. So what are the top health and safety concerns on the minds of security officials? Let's take a look.
Just like fingerprints, we all have a unique set of behavioral quirks. For example, I tend to drink triple shot, iced vanilla lattes. Before beginning my work, I clean off the table using water and a napkin. (Seriously, why are coffee shop tables always so disgusting?) And, oftentimes, I tip my glasses in a peculiar way as I write my articles. None of these quirks is particularly unique. But taken together, I'm probably the only triple shot, iced vanilla latte-drinking, table-cleaning, glasses-tipping person in Seattle. If I ever committed a crime and the police were out to get me, this combination of quirks may be just enough to identify me.
Researchers at Harvard's Belfer Center scoured the globe for whatever was publicly available on North Korea's biological weapons program. Referencing news articles, journal papers, expert interviews and government reports, the team assembled a comprehensive study of the knowns and unknowns. Here are the main findings.
Tularemia is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Because it naturally infects rabbits and rodents, there isn't much we can do to eradicate it. Roughly 125 Americans are diagnosed with tularemia annually.