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Agricultural Bioterrorism Martin E. Hugh-Jones Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine BIOLOGICAL ATTACKS Any biological attack on agriculture will differ significantly from one that primarily targets human beings, since any human deaths will at worst be coinci- dental, even when zoonoses are concerned. Any agricultural impact may be de- layed significantly and only become obvious after weeks or even months; and the major losses follow from the disease and are not those directly from the disease itself, which in comparison may be relatively trivial. An effective "attack" does not necessitate massive death and destruction; quite the reverse. It is the necessary responses to agricultural disease to contain and clean up, to prevent further spread, and then to reclaim the previous level of disease control or freedom, lost exports, and international recognition that eat up effort and funding. There is a very different time scale and series of available tools than those involving public health and human biological attacks. The desired results from an agricultural biological attack are much more complicated than the simple widespread terror induced in a human target population. A biological attack is the deliberate use of microorganisms or toxins derived from living organisms to induce death or disease in humans, animals, or plants. Biological attacks can include biological warfare, bioterrorism, and what we might call "biocrimes." The main differences in these three are in breadth, motivation, target, route, transport and logistics, and potential countermeasures. Biological warfare (BOO) is defined in the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- tion (NATO) Handbook on the Medical Aspects of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Defensive Operations as the "employment of biological agents 219
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220 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM to produce casualties in man or animals or damage to plants." Biological warfare is, therefore, a specialized type of warfare conducted by a government against a target. Terrorism has been defined as "the unlawful use of force or violence com- mitted by an individual or group of individuals against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment there- of, in furtherance of political or social objectives." By extension, then, bioterror- ism is a terrorist activity that employs a biological agent as the means of force. Biocrimes are illegal activities in which the perpetrators used biological agents as weapons, but in which no political or social objectives were involved. Unlike the bioterrorist, the biocriminal' s motivation is usually murder, extortion, sabotage (usually for economic reasons), or revenge. The potential terrorist or criminal has many more agents available that could produce visible results against a relatively small target than the military bio- weaponeer has that could produce large-scale results on a battlefield. The targets for any of these attacks could be humans, livestock, or crops. Many people think that it would be too difficult for a terrorist to produce and disperse enough agent to do any significant harm. Although that might be true to some extent for most terrorists with human targets, an attack that causes even one casualty will be counted a success if it becomes known. And an attack on agriculture could potentially affect the lives of everyone in the affected nation. WHY ATTACK THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY? Why would anyone want to use biological agents against animals or plants? We can think of several instances in which attacks against the agriculture indus- try would be particularly effective. If a key agricultural industry were undermined sufficiently, particularly in a nation highly dependent upon one main crop such as rice, food shortages could arise. This could escalate into widespread unemployment, starvation, civil un- rest, and destabilization of the government. This is more likely to affect develop- ing nations with limited food resources than industrialized nations that have more options. Causing an export ban (as in the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom) is certainly an effective means of damaging a govern- ment without directly causing physical injury to any of its citizens. One would expect attacks such as these to be carried out mainly by enemy nations (or by terrorists backed by such states), and the possibilities are numerous. According to the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute Web site: i · The United States, during the days of its offensive biological warfare program (1943-1969), investigated agents of anthrax, brucellosis, Eastern and
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM 221 Western equine encephalitis, foot-and-mouth disease, fowl plague, "landers, late blight of potato, Newcastle disease, psittacosis, rice blast, rice brown spot dis- ease, rinderpest, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, wheat blast fungus, and wheat stem rust as potential biological weapons. . The Soviet Union/Russia (1935-1992) worked with African swine fever, anthrax, avian influenza, brown grass mosaic, brucellosis, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, contagious ecthyma, foot-and-mouth disease, "landers, maize rust, Newcastle disease, potato virus, psittacosis, rice blast, rinderpest, rye blast, tobacco mosaic, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, vesicular stomatitis, wheat and barley mosaic streak, and wheat stem rust. They also experimented with parasitic insects and insect attractants. · Germany's biological weapons program (1915-1917,1942-1945) worked with anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, "landers, potato beetle, and wheat fungus. During World War II they also experimented with turnip weevils, antler moths, potato stalk rot, potato tuber decay, and miscellaneous anti-crop weeds. · France (1939-1972) investigated potato beetle and rinderpest. · Japan (1937-1945) worked with anthrax and "landers. During World War II they experimented with miscellaneous anti-crop fungi, bacteria, and nematodes. · Iraq (1980s to probably present) investigated weaponizing aflatoxin, an- thrax, camelpox (which may have been investigated as a surrogate for smallpox), foot-and-mouth disease, and wheat stem rust. While all these countries are supposed to have ceased production of biolog- ical weapons with the signing of the Biological Weapons Convention in the mid- 1970s, the possibility of some "nations of concern" still maintaining offensive BW programs remains. For instance, the Iraqis are believed to retain elements of their program despite UN disarmament efforts. Other goals are also possible. In the United States, for example, the govern- ment has a responsibility to provide safe and wholesome food. A terrorist or criminal might seek to undermine the public' s confidence in the government to provide a safe food supply. This could affect the outcomes of elections and lead to changes in laws and policies. A criminal, or a criminal organization, might wish to cause losses in a par- ticular crop to manipulate commodities futures and affect stock market prices. The first two goals are long-standing national and international implications of biological attacks on food, with economic and political implications. The latter two are more recent goals adopted by activist groups seeking to manipulate public behavior. Yet there is yet another kind of possible "big-user" one who can bring about unintended consequences by using biological agents as a form of pest control: deer or rabbits eating the garden, feral pigs tearing up the ranch, and so forth. This person does not see himself as a criminal but rather as someone who
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222 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM had to take action because the authorities would not. Depending on the agent used, this individual's act might trigger rampant disease outbreaks in this coun- try's livestock industry or even cause disease in humans. For a variety of reasons, agricultural bioterrorism is easier and safer to do, and, in the view of many, is much more likely than attacks against humans. So why would people think of agricultural bioterrorism? Well, first of all, it's low tech. It is much easier to develop capability without a lot of extensive sophisticated infrastructure. There is a lower profile for detection because of the kind of agents you would be working with. Personal safety. You know there's something to be said for working with something that will kill animals or plants, and not people. If you have a little accident in your laboratory, you're probably not going to kill yourself. Easier delivery. In places like Colorado and Kansas and the great agricultural areas of our county, it will be significantly easier to distribute biological agents with virtually no chance of detection. Lower retaliatory risk. I believe that if someone decided to take a shot at Uncle Sam, they could decide to wipe out our pork or beef, or wheat industry. The retaliatory decisions we would have to make would certainly be more difficult in the event of a proven agricultural attack. It is difficult to envision a lethal-type retaliation in response to an agricultural attack. I don't think world or public opinion would tolerate it. So, for a rogue state, this would be a much more acceptable way to fight that asymmetric battle. Plausible deniability. This is one of the hallmark reasons that bio is such a tough nut to crack. You can say we've had a serious outbreak, but where did it come from? Was it naturally occurring? Virtually all of these agents are naturally occurring some place. You nearly always would have that kernel of doubt as to whether it was intentional or naturally occurring. And, of course, once again in the retaliatory phase, that would be a very signifi- cant aspect. I believe that there is a reduced moral and ethical burden associat- ed with perpetrating an agricultural attack. There are many people who would accept the idea of killing all our hogs, wiping out our wheat crop, or wiping out a rice crop. However, those very same people might never accept the thought of killing innocent people, but might consider ways to damage our economic infra- s~ucture for political or other reasons.2 OUR VULNERABILITIES TO AGROTERRORISM In the United States, agriculture is no longer spread more or less evenly throughout the country. Today's highly concentrated agricultural systems, cou- pled with the decreasing genetic diversity of livestock and crop plants, heighten the vulnerability of our agricultural economy to terrorist acts. In 1970 there were about 500,000 dairy farms in the United States; by 1988 this had decreased to 160,000. Beef production has followed the same trend, with 120,000 feedlots in 1970 and only 43,000 in 1988. Today's processing plants operate at extremely high volume: a plant that produces ground beef may produce 4 to 12 tons per hour and operate on a 20-hour day. A single line can
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM 223 turn out 20 million ground beef patties per day, and a single hamburger patty can contain meat from a minimum of 51 to a maximum of 1,400 different cattle that originated in many different states and/or countries. In such high-speed, high-volume operations the potential for accidental con- tamination of meat with rumen or intestinal contents is enormous; if contamina- tion were to be intentionally introduced, the results could affect an untold num- ber of consumers. Strangely, as the world has grown richer, farming more intensive and agri- cultural research more sophisticated, we have concentrated food production on just a few varieties. Ninety-five percent of the world's calories now come from only 30 crops, and fifty percent from just four: rice, maize (corn), wheat, and potato. Editorial, New Scientist, September 2, 2000
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224 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM According to Mark Wheelis,3 the potential consequences of an attack on the agricultural sector are many: Direct losses due to disease. Direct financial loss due to mortality or mor- bidity of domestic animals or crop plants can vary from insignificant to cata- strophic. In many cases the direct losses would be modest and would fall on a small number of farms. One of the major determinants of the magnitude of the direct losses will be the rapidity with which the disease is noticed and diagnosed. In developed countries, most of the foreign diseases of greatest concern would likely be identified fairly early, allowing the direct disease losses to be kept modest. Losses due to efforts to contain outbreaks. An outbreak of an imported, highly contagious animal or plant disease is routinely controlled by the destruc- tion of all potentially exposed healthy host organisms. With animal diseases, this normally means the slaughter of all host animals in the immediate vicinity. With plants, thousands of acres of crop plants may have to be destroyed to contain an outbreak. Thus, the losses attendant on outbreak control can exceed, often by several orders of magnitude, the direct losses due to the disease itself. Destruction of exposed hosts is often the only option when the agent is bacterial or viral. However, for fungal agents, destruction of exposed crops may be reduced by the use of fungicides. However, this is an expensive process itself, so it adds significantly to the cost of the outbreak, and it may cause environmen- tal damage. A number of important threats to crop plants are from insect pests, rather than microbial pathogens. These outbreaks are usually controlled by the use of pesticides rather than the destruction of exposed plants, which, as with control of fungal disease, can cost large amounts. Widespread broadcast of insecticide may cause environmental or human health damage as well. The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) certainly could cover pests as well as pathogens, since Article I refers to "micro-
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM 225 blat or other biological agents" and the consultative process of the BTWC has been used to address concerns about a pest infestation in Cuba. However, this coverage has never been made explicit, and it would be useful to do so since there are so many insect pests of great potential for agricultural biowarfare or bioterrorism. Losses due to sanitary or phytosanitary restrictions on international trade. Under the World Trade Organization (WTO), member states are allowed to im- pose import restrictions on agricultural products to prevent the importation of pests or disease agents. Thus, importing countries free of a particular disease are usually quick to block imports from countries in which that disease breaks out. This happens frequently, because these diseases periodically resurface in areas from which they have been absent; trade restrictions typically last a month or two when control of the outbreak is rapid, or they may endure much longer if disease control is slow and difficult (e.g., the European Union restriction on the import of beef from the United Kingdom due to the bovine spongiform encepha- lopathy [BSE] outbreak). Thus, major agricultural exporters are particularly vulnerable. For instance, the Taiwan foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in swine in 1997 probably only cost tens of thousands of U.S. dollars in direct losses, but it cost $4 billion in eradication and disinfection costs, and a cumulative $15 billion in lost export revenues. An FMD outbreak in Italy in 1993 again had trivial direct costs, but nearly $12 million in eradication and disinfection costs and $120 million in lost trade revenues. Alternatively, the introduction of a disease into a country previously free of it would undermine the legitimacy of that country's import restrictions under the WTO, forcing the lifting of the restrictions and opening up the market. This could bring significant additional losses to domestic producers. Losses due to indirect effects (market destabilization, etch. The substantial market effects of a widespread outbreak, or one that has major impacts on inter- national trade, could have secondary effects, such as shareholder losses, revenue losses to processors and shippers, and so forth. In the extreme, if losses are very large and if future losses appear likely, significant levels of investor panic could lead to market destabilization. ANTI-ANIMAL AND ANTI-PLANT AGENTS An effective agent to be used against animals will be highly contagious, virulent, able to survive well in the environment, and will result in economic hardship and an import ban by other countries. What types of agents might fulfill some, if not most, of the above criteria? Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Hog Cholera, Velogenic Newcastle Disease, African Swine Fever, Highly Pathogen- ic Avian Influenza, and Rinderpest. It is estimated that if FMD became estab- lished within the U.S. that it would cost our nation over $27 billion in trade
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226 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM losses alone each year. Add to this the costs of depopulating infected herds, disinfecting premises, quarantines, surveillance, higher prices of meat it all adds up to a heavy price. from Biological Warfare and Terrorism Web site, http://www. vetmed. instate. ed u/Faculty&Staff/RDavi current_interests. him Biological weapons may be used not only against humans, but to attack plants or animals to harm the nation's economy. Some diseases are so feared, and so closely guarded against international transmission, that the appearance of even one infected animal in this country could cause serious economic repercus- sions if other countries banned the importation of U.S. meat products. Any po- tentially exposed animals would have to be slaughtered immediately. As men- tioned in the previous section, our intensified livestock production system makes us particularly vulnerable. More and more animals are kept in fewer and fewer places, so the potential for a great number of animals becoming infected with a disease is high. One such feared disease is the so-called Mad Cow Disease (BSE). We will discuss two others in this section. Likewise, certain plant diseases could result in the forced destruction of entire crops, even if only a few plants are infected, and many countries might ban the import of U.S. wheat, rice, or soybeans. In addition, some plants, when infected by certain organisms, produce toxins that can cause illness in humans or animals consuming them. Any contamination of this sort could lead to loss of confidence in the safety of our food supply, which would harm farmers, consum- ers, and business. And a hoax could be as effective here as an actual attack. Newcastle Disease Newcastle disease is a viral infection that causes a respiratory or nervous disorder in several species of fowl including chickens and turkeys. Different types or strains, varying in their ability to cause nervous disorders, internal le- sions and death, have been recognized. The most severe is velogenic viscerotro- pic Newcastle disease (VVND) (also called "exotic Newcastle disease"), which until thel970s had not been seen in the United States. The U.S. Animal Health Association's Web site gives the following account of the first U.S. outbreak: Around Thanksgiving of 1971, an outbreak of VVND began in southern California from the importation of infected exotic birds (parrots and mynah birds). The disease spread to a nearby poultry ranch via escaped infected exotic birds or by cats taking infected dead birds that were improperly disposed of back to the poultry ranch. The disease then spread throughout eight counties in Southern California via importation of infected exotic birds, movement of live commercial chickens, and movement of people from infected ranches. Within two months, the disease spread to 34 flocks. The spread was then explosive,
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM with 75 more flocks becoming infected within one month. A total of 45,000 square miles was subsequently quarantined. From March 14, 1972, to Novem- ber 1, 1972, a total of 101,909 flocks (exotic birds and poultry) [comprising] 406,078,000 birds were inspected. Two hundred seventy-nine flocks comprised of about 7,856,860 birds were found to be infected, and 369 flocks and 306,155 birds were found to be exposed. All infected and exposed birds were destroyed and indemnified at a cost of more than $15.5 million. In addition to the indemnification cost of this outbreak, there was a severe financial and economic burden on many poultry producers. The quarantine blocked movement of any poultry product out of the quarantine area, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. Many producers were forced out of business because they no longer had a market for their product even if their birds were not infected nor exposed. The quarantine area was reduced from 45,000 square miles to about 2,300 square miles on October 27, 1972 almost 1 year after the outbreak started. It is estimated that the total expense to eradicate this VVND outbreak was $52 million. Report of the United States Animal Health Association Committee on Foreign Animal Diseases, 1998 committee reports. http://www. usaha. org/reports98/r98fred i. html#vvnd Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza 227 Avian influenza affects a wide variety of farmed and wild birds predom~ nantly of chickens and turkeys, but also game birds such as pheasants, partridge, and quail; ratites (ostrich and emu); psittacines (parrots); and passerines (song- birds and perching birds). With virulent strains, losses can be up to 100 percent. The virus is so tiny and so virulent that one gram of fecal material, just enough to cover a dime, contains up to 10 million particles, which is enough virus to infect all of the chickens in the world. Lethal strains of the virus can strike quickly, particularly in young chickens. There may be no signs other than sudden death. In cases of highly virulent virus, clinical signs may simply be seen as sudden high mortality rate (exceeding 90 percent), possibly preceded by severe depression or fever in the flock. Affected birds may show conjunctivitis, runny eyes, sinusitis, and swollen dark blue heads. Milder forms may be associated with nonspecific respiratory signs, depression, loss of appetite, blue combs and wattles, diarrhea, or blood-tinged discharge from the nostrils. There may be a severe and sudden drop in egg production in breeder birds with an increase in soft-shelled or shell-less eggs. Treatment is usually ineffective and inappropriate because birds that have been affected tend to be weak and in poor condition. Virulent disease is controlled by immediately stamping out and disposing of infected and in-contact birds to remove the major source of the virus. Even though recovered flocks shed less virus than clinically .
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228 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM ill flocks, recovered flocks will intermittently shed and should be considered infected for life. The potential economic impact of this disease is huge: Pennsylvania had an outbreak in 1883-1884 and it cost more than $50 million to control the disease. Adjusted for inflation, losses to producers and increased costs to consumers resulting from the 1883-1884 outbreak would today equal approximately $85 million and $490 million, respectively. A coordinated attack using H5 AIv si- multaneously against poultry farms in the five major areas Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, California, and the DelMarVa peninsula could halt all poultry con- sumption (thanks to a "panic" factor), with follow-on effects of extensive layoffs in the slaughter and processing plants; grossly affect feed grain production and the farming community; and stop exports. If an attack were against only one region, there would still be significant price disturbances and an increase in consumer costs. In May 1997, Hong Kong officials reported the death of a three-year-old boy from respiratory failure due to influenza. In August, authorities identified the strain of influenza virus isolated from the boy as H5N1. H5N1 previously had been known to exist in shorebirds and occasionally to infect chickens, but this was the first time a person had been found to be infected with this particular influenza strain. The virus had jumped directly from a bird to a human, an unprecedented event. Public health officials worldwide continue to monitor the situation closely, still not certain whether human-to-human transmission can oc- cur, which would increase the likelihood of epidemic spread. Laboratory re- searchers are pursuing studies to determine the source of the virus and the prop- erties that allowed it to infect humans. Since that initial case was identified, seven additional cases (total of eight) of influenza A (H5N1) have been recog- nized in humans in Hong Kong. Two of the seven have died. Foot-and-Mouth Disease Foot-and-mouth disease is an extremely contagious virus that affects all cloven-hoofed animals. (Although rare, humans can become infected; human FMD is not a serious disease.) Numerous different strains exist, some of which are more virulent for some animals than for others. The disease is endemic to much of Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as parts of Europe. The United States has not had an outbreak of FMD since 1929, but one has only to look at the outbreaks in the United Kingdom that appeared in February 2001 to imagine the devastating economic effects such an event would cause. After an incubation period of one to ten days, FMD produces lesions in the mouth and on the feet of infected animals, among other symptoms. Although the disease is infrequently fatal, it can result in enormous losses in productivity. This accounts for the considerable efforts undertaken by FMD-free countries to re- main that way.
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM 229 FMD is resistant to common disinfectants and can persist for more than a year in infected premises and up to 12 weeks on clothing or in feed. The virus can also be carried in uncooked meat and in dairy products from infected ani- mals; virus-laden exhalations from infected swine herds can be carried on the wind for distances of 100 km or further. Fungal agents are the most likely group of agents to be used against plants. Many fungal agents are able to be easily disseminated over large areas, reduce yields, and disseminate widely each repeating cycle. They can be produced in large quantities, many in simple nutrient culture. Most are obligate parasites on plants in the field. They are relatively inexpensive to procure and propagate and can easily be stored for long periods in plant tissue or under refrigeration. Rice Blast Rice blast is one of the most important diseases affecting rice worldwide. It is caused by a fungus that can attack the rice plant at any stage of growth. It is characterized by the appearance of lesions on the leaves, nodes, and flowers. On the leaves, lesions are typically spindle shaped wide in the center and pointed toward either end. Large lesions usually develop a grayish center, with a brown margin on older lesions. When a node is infected, all parts above the infected node may die. When this occurs, yield losses may be large because few seeds (the part we know as rice) will develop. Yield loss estimates from various parts of the world have ranged from 1 to 50 percent. Aside from rice, this fungus can also attack more than 50 other species of grasses and sedges. Many developing nations whose populations are heavily dependent upon rice as a source of food would be extremely vulnerable to a disease that seriously threatened their rice harvests.4 Stem Rust Rusts are among the most damaging diseases of wheat and other small grain crops. In the Great Plains of the United States, stem rust and leaf rust epidemics often have caused yield losses in wheat far exceeding 20 million bushels. As recently as 1993, leaf rust destroyed more than 40 million bushels of wheat in Kansas and Nebraska. In 1985, Texas and Oklahoma lost 95 million bushels of wheat to leaf rust. The country can ill afford such losses, especially for wheat, a major export commodity. Wheat stem rust occurs worldwide wherever wheat is grown. It is most important where temperatures are warm, 18-30°C (64-86°F), and dews are fre- quent during and after the heads of wheat form. Losses are often severe (50 to 70 percent) over a large area, and individual fields can be totally destroyed. Damage is greatest when the disease becomes severe before the grain is completely formed. In areas favorable for disease development, susceptible cultivars cannot
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230 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM be grown. Grain is shriveled due to the damage to the conducting tissue, result- ing in less nutrient being transported to the grain. Severe disease can cause straw breakage, resulting in a loss of spikes with combine harvesting.5 CHARACTERISTICS OF AN AGRICULTURAL BID-ATTACK Any or all of the following may characterize a biological attack on agriculture: Unusual time and/or place (i.e., at extremes of normal distribution). Based on informed epidemiological experience, literature, and databases, 99 out of 100 suspicious outbreaks will be normal events and fully explicable from existing knowledge. Events at the extremes of normal probabilities are by their nature infrequent but not ipso facto abnormal. An event having a low probability will acquire persuasion only when matched or unmatched with other events. "Experi- ence" may indicate that certain infrequent events are commonly associated with a specific set of circumstances, and these may be missing in a contrived and not- normal outbreak. Therefore, the events leading up to the "incident" must be carefully analyzed by experienced investigators. Unexpected strain of agent, or multiple strains. Isolates from the initial outbreaks should be compared rapidly with known isolates in the pathogen ar- chives. Does the agent exactly match a known strain with a documented origin? Are there genomic markers that are associated with a specific ecology and/or host species, further defining its natural origin? If multiple strains are identified, are they logical? Do they have any other characteristics, such as resistance to a number of antibiotics, a documented collective availability to one institute, or an unusual common ability (e.g., to successfully withstand freeze-drying while oth- ers do not)? Are any possible "attackers" or their contractees capable technical- ly and scientifically of mounting such an offense? Marked reversal of an otherwise steady progress in disease control or free- dom. One should carefully and objectively investigate the situation and the exist- ing control program's surveillance system. The setback is probably 100 percent predictable in hindsight, especially if the outbreak has revealed embedded de- fects in program design, implementation, reporting cycle and response time, funding, training, or tactical control. Many national disease control programs work well until they are challenged by a real epidemic. However, a new case in an area well cleared of disease for a number of years and with farmers experi- enced and knowledgeable of the costs to be incurred if the condition were to be reintroduced must get one's attention. One should also never lose sight of the possibility of unintended outbreaks following illegal importation of fruit and livestock, which by definition lack the appropriate certificates and health guar- antees. What characterizes these events is that there are no external beneficiaries other than those individuals directly involved in the illegal activities. Epidemiologically "weird" event. An epidemiologically weird event is one
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AGRICULTURAL TERRORISM 231 that in no way matches normal experience or knowledge and goes far beyond expectations, such as Venezuelan equine encephalitis in Switzerland, vector- borne diseases in areas without appropriate vectors, normally feed-borne diseas- es in stock not receiving feed, et cetera. Other things to consider include evalua- tion of the outbreak to see if it was independent of normal commercial or industrial activities, marketing, weather, and/or livestock and crop densities. For example, if an infection is normally windborne (e.g., certain FMD virus strains), was the initial spread downwind or across the prevailing wind direction? If it is density dependent, as with bovine brucellosis, was it first noted in one or more small herds with less than 10 cows? Was the outbreak in the dry season while the local vectors are all wet-season breeders? Forced diagnosis. How did we hear of this case? Was this a normal out- break discovered in a normal manner, or were there circumstances that ensured diagnosis? Following from this, were there any circumstances relating to the announcement or news releases that indicated an unusual amount or kind of publicity? Most agricultural costs from outbreaks are self-inflicted by the host country in responding to the outbreak and the need for rapid resolution. This is usually out of proportion to the number of index or primary cases. The initial hit can be singular or numerically trivial, and in these cases the attacker must aid the diagnostic process to make sure the event is (1) recognized and (2) reported. Therefore, what were the circumstances that led to the initial recognition of the event and its subsequent diagnosis and laboratory confirmation? RECOGNIZING A BIOLOGICAL ATTACK One must always be aware that biological events will be rare, and therefore any suspicious incident is most likely to have a normal if not prosaic explanation whatever the initial impression or belief. Similarly, the implications of a proven attack are so far reaching that any investigation resulting in such a conclusion must be so thorough as to survive the most rigorous of examinations. Therefore, unless the circumstances are blatantly those of an obvious bio- logical event the biological equivalent of the Oklahoma City bombing, such as 10 widely separated cases of rinderpest across the United States within one weeks the primary investigative position is that the situation was normal and, if unexpected, merely unusual. Thus, Rule One: "Rule out normality." And Rule Two: "Try harder to rule out normality." Only if that fails does Rule Three apply: "Round up the usual suspects." THE 1973 NEWCASTLE DISEASE OUTBREAK IN NORTHERN IRELAND: A CASE STUDY The event itself was certainly unexpected, since Northern Ireland did not and does not import animal proteins or by-products, such as bone meals or poul-
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232 HIGH-IMPACT TERRORISM try offal meals. In retrospect, this outbreak probably is traceable to contamina- tion of European feed grains by the then-pandemic Newcastle disease virus strain in Western Europe. Although there were 15 feed-compounder mills involved, importation was via only two known agents. All of the initial isolates were identical except for the "known" overvaccination-related outbreak. The outbreak directly resulted in an economic cost of £668,994 (or £4.7 million to £5.1 million in 1997 terms), but the benefits were diffuse because the province returned to full production quickly. Most countries in Europe had New- castle disease problems at that time, which would have limited their trading capacity. The demand for table eggs was declining rapidly in the United King- dom. In reality, there was slight benefit to anyone outside Northern Ireland in this outbreak. There were no obvious social or political impacts inside the coun- try. In fact, the outbreak brought all those involved closer together. There are no additional aspects of this case, which is indicative of a non- BW, but natural, source. (Of course, if viewed from the opposite direction, varied Newcastle disease virus strains would be characteristic of an aggressive group with tight security and three separate teams, each with their own infected eggs to be placed broken in the targeted flocks so that they would be eaten by the chickens; or however else delivery was to be achieved a Roswell interpreta- tion, in the opinion of the writer.) NOTES 1. Ban, J. 2000. Agricultural biological warfare: an overview. Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute website, http://www.cbaci.org. 2. Jaax, J. 2000. Non-lethal technology in a comprehensive homeland defense program. Pre- sented at Non-Lethal Technology and Academic Research (NTAR) Symposium II, November 14-17, 2000, Portsmouth, http://www.unh.edu/ntar/Transcripts/EDjaax.htm. 3. Wheelis, M. Agricultural biowarfare and bioterrorism. Federation of American Scientists Chemical and Biological Arms Control Program Web site, http://www.fas.org/bwc/agr/main.htm. 4. Rice BlastDB, A database for the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea, http:// ascus.cit.cornell.edu/blastdb/index.html. 5. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Cereal Disease Laboratory, http://www.crl.umn.edu/index.htm. 6. Even this might be explainable if it were found to be related to a recent importation of wildebeest from Africa that somehow were cleared from quarantine early and shipped to widely dispersed "wildlife parks" with resident beef cattle or nearby dairy farms. Then the incident is downgraded from an intentional attack to an egregious example of negligence or stupidity (never an inconsequential consideration).
Representative terms from entire chapter: