The trend to think defence against biological warfare is not necessary, too complicated or will never happen is widespread and yet there was panic when the deadly poison E coli was discovered in cucumbers. Less than twenty people died because protection was as simple as echewing, cucumbers, tomatoes and bean sprouts.
Human or animal contamination was blamed for the outbreak and yet the alarming fact remains that at this time we can not distinguish between a bioterrorism event and a disease-causing microbe.
Unfortunately, protecting oneself from biological warfare is not as simple as avoiding eating salad until the scare is over. A kilogram of aerosolized anthrax depending on meterological conditions has the potential to kill hundred of thousands of people in the target area and the technology (still untested, but for how long), already exists.
I cannot help but be disturbed that while I am writing this, in secret laboratories around the world, scientists are working on developing anthrax, ricin and botulism as weapons, testing their biological capability and efficiency and experimenting with delivery systems. Even more disturbing, is the fact that much of this research is funded by extremist groups.
Chemical and biological weapons are no longer the sole province of rogue states,with extremist groups exploring the use of WMD to achieve their ends. Terror lies in their anonymity. It's impossible to prepare an adequate defence against a hidden foe.
In The Biocide Conspiracy, two teenagers must pit their wits against an unknown enemy who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the ultimate weapon of mass destruction - a new strain of botulism developed secretly on board the International Space Station. Fortunately, the book is a work of fiction, I wish the alarming reports I read while I was researching the subject were too!