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Ebola Virus, a not so Biological Weapon

What is the Ebola Virus

Pneumocystis by AJC1, on Flickr
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The Ebola virus is a terrible disease that can wreak havoc on the human body.  It can destroy blood vessel cells, which may lead to massive internal hemorrhaging.  The virus is extremely infectious and highly fatal.  But would it make a good biological weapon?  I think not…

Would it make a good Biological Weapon?

Although this sounds pretty deadly, it’s said that it would make for a poor biological weapon simply because it’s victims die too quickly.  Thus not allowing much time for it to spread.  A virus such as influenza can spread very quickly over a large body of population because it is easily transmitted.  The first signs of infection are quite mild and they may be carrying the virus for a longer period of time.

But where Ebola is concerned, it is not nearly as contagious as the flu.  Mainly because it isn’t contagious until later stages of it’s development.  There is an incubation period for Ebola of anywhere between 5-18 days.  After which the virus begins to show symptoms which may be extremely severe.  Symptoms such as fever, abdominal pains and blood in the vomit are quite common.  Once these symptoms begin to appear, it’s victims may only have around 2 weeks to live.  The most common cause for death from Ebola is normally multiple organ failure or a major loss of blood through hemorrhaging.

Ebola victims are contagious for only a short period of time, and their symptoms are so severe, that there isn’t much time to spread the deadly virus.  This is the main reason it would make for a weak biological weapon.  A biological weapon has to be able to stand the test of time, at least long enough to run it’s course through a population.

Some Statistics

Zaire Africa was the first area of the world where there was an outbreak of Ebola, back in 1976.  There were more than 300 people infected and 90% of them died as a result.  It is not uncommon for approximately 90% of the people infected by Ebola to have death inflicted upon them.  Here’s a good example of it’s deadly nature.  Many of you may be familiar with the Spanish Flu.  It was the worst known case of the flu in history.  It wound up killing 50,000,000 people between 1918 and 1920.  This was only a 5% to 10% fatality rate amongst the population that was infected. Although these are the facts, it doesn’t mean some crazies haven’t tried to use it for such.

The Attempted Weapon

There was a strange Japanese religious cult called Aum Shinrikyo that actually tried to use Ebola as a biological weapon in 1922.  They went on a hunt to acquire a sample of this deadly virus and convert it into a biological weapon.  The cult leader Shoko Asahara lead a group of 40 to Zaire.  They disguised their mission as a medical expedition, and used this cover in hopes of obtaining the sample they needed.

In 1995 there was a deadly Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway and the cult was convicted of the assault.  When police arrived at their fort, they discovered many biological warfare agents like Anthrax and Ebola.  The cult was also harboring many militias like guns and explosives.  They even had a Russian Mil Mi-17 military helicopter!

This Sarin gas attack on the subway was the worst terrorist attack in history on the Japanese.  Still to this day, no one knows the true motives of the attack, but some believe it was a diversion to draw police attention from their investigation.  I don’t know how much since that makes, but it is definitely ironic!

This stuff is very scary and there will always be some crazies out there trying to create the next lethal weapon whether it be biological or mechanical.  I think we have a hard enough time just trying to deal with what Mother Nature throws at us.  Much less having to dodge the things that mankind is throwing at us.  All we can do is trust that we will prevail and most certainly get our Flu shot each year!

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8 thoughts on “Ebola Virus, a not so Biological Weapon
    1. Thanks Karan, I always try to come up with unusual topics that aren’t widely known, keeps it interesting 🙂

    1. Yes, it’s quite scary the lengths some will go to for world domination. Biological warfare probably scares me more than any other form.

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