Publication Date


Document Type



Bioterrorism—the intentional release of harmful biological agents to generate illness or death in others—is no new phenomenon. This piece aims not to fearmonger, nor to create distrust toward governments; instead, its goal is to raise awareness of the potential danger of bioterrorism and to potentially spark action in greater preparation for such events. Bioterrorism is a momentous issue that does not deserve to be overlooked—for the sake of the future. In the 14th century BC, the Hittites performed what is considered by many to be the first act of bioterrorism. Following the Hittites were countless more examples of this type of attack, including the Mongols in 1347, the 2001 Amerithrax attacks, and several in between. An analysis of these events through scholarly literature, journals, and legal documents reveals persisting efforts to employ sickness to hurt individuals; to deliberately impose adverse effects on desired targets. Taking into consideration the ongoing trend of developing technology in modern society, techniques utilized to control pathogens will only be heightened; systems for handling and spreading these microbes will operate more rapidly and stealthily. By examining past instances of bioterrorism, along with its development, it becomes clear that its peril only grows. Important questions addressed in this research are, but are not limited to: how bioterrorism has developed, why it can be so consequential, and why it is necessary to identify it as a legitimate threat.



Download Full Text (492 KB)

Bioterrorism: A Largely Unrecognized 21st Century Threat