Alert

Biological Hazards

Biological disasters are scenarios involving disease, disability or death on a large scale among humans, animals and plants due to toxins or disease caused by live organisms or their products. Such disasters may be natural in the form of epidemics or pandemics of existing, emerging or reemerging diseases and pestilences or man-made by the intentional use of disease causing agents in Biological Warfare (BW) operations or incidents of Bioterrorism (BT).
 
It might be caused by epidemics, accidental release of virulent microorganism(s) or Bioterrorism (BT) with the use of biological agents such as anthrax, smallpox, etc. The existence of infectious diseases have been known among human communities and civilizations since the dawn of history. The classical literature of nearly all civilizations record the ability of major infections to decimate populations, thwart military campaigns and unsettle nations. Social upheavals caused by epidemics have contributed in shaping history over the ages. The mutual association of war, pestilence and famine was acknowledged and often attributed to divine influences, though a few keen observers realized that some infections were contagious. The development of bacteriology and epidemiology later, established the chain of infection. Along with nuclear and chemical agents, which are derived from technology, biological agents have been accepted as agents of mass destruction capable of generating comparable disasters.


DO’S AND DON’TS



Do’s:-
  • On hearing the report of a biological disaster, stay indoors and keep calm.
  • Follow newspapers, T.V, Radio for regular updates on disaster.
  • Shut all windows and doors and turn off air conditioners.
  • Use a face/gas mask, which can provide an excellent respiratory protection. The M-40 series mask certainly provides adequate protection against all inhalational Biological Warfare Agents threats.
  • Reach for medical help, if required.
  • Use purified water or boil drinking water and keep it covered.
  • Store ample food, fruits and vegetables under cover to last 5-6 days.
  • Follow hygiene measures such as trimming of fingernails regularly,and washing hands with soap and water before eating/drinking as well as after defecation.
  • Report any case of sickness in the family/ neighbourhood to health authorities.
  • Help authorities in destruction of infected stocks of food, crops,livestock, etc. Keep your premises clean. Follow proper waste disposal and prevent access to rodents.
  • Initiate insect, vector and rodent control measures in your area.
  • Use mosquito nets/ repellents at night. Use of common repellents like producing smoke with cow dung, use of window and door screens, etc., as emergency measures, if ideal repellents are not available. Simple information of closing doors and windows during dusk time will also be beneficial.
Don’ts:-
  • Do not panic or encourage rumours to spread.
  • Do not eat raw vegetables/fruits without thorough washing.
  • Do not consume stale food material.
  • Do not let water stagnate in ponds, coolers and nearby pits.
  • Do not use coolers and air conditioners.
  • Do not allow waste, particularly food waste material to accumulate in or around your premises.
  • Do not forget to clinically isolate suspected and confirmed sick cases.