Bioterrorism is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, toxins, or other harmful agents with the intent of causing illness or death in humans, animals, or plants.
The threat of bioterrorism is real, with recent reports indicating that individuals, terrorist groups, and criminals have the capability and intent to use biological agents to harm society.
Biological agent attacks are among the most insidious and cause the most fear. Attacks may go undetected for an extended period, potentially exposing a large number of people who are unaware of the threat. Bioterrorism has changed the way dentists respond to disasters. Accurate and substantial information provided to the public by credible public health and medical experts can go a long way toward assuaging their fears and encouraging cooperation and participation in constructive, organized community response efforts. In a significant bioterrorism attack, the dental profession could play a critical role in the emergency response.
Access to knowledge and data is becoming more widely available via the Internet. Criminals use hidden and anonymous communication channels, such as the Darknet, to buy, sell, share data, and communicate with one another.
The devastation caused by such an event could be enormous, causing widespread illness and death as well as instilling fear and panic on a global scale.
The spread of an infectious or toxic biological agent can occur without warning, whereas the response to a physical event, whether natural, accidental, or deliberate, requires collaboration across multiple sectors. Structured prevention, preparedness, and response strategies are needed.
The INTERPOL Bioterrorism Prevention Unit aims to help law enforcement agencies prevent, prepare for, and respond to the intentional use of bacteria, viruses, or biological toxins that threaten or harm humans, animals, or agriculture.
In addition to international and regional cooperation, we collaborate with national law enforcement agencies, health, academia, and industry to combat this complex crime, and we are involved in several projects and activities aimed at reducing the threat of a bioterrorism act and establishing effective countermeasures as part of a global security strategy.