Big Essay


MUST answer all the questions from each section. All answers are to be typed with 12-font, 1-inch margin on all sides, double-spaced, and numbered. 

APA format, in-text citation, references include, 21 PAGES plus 1 page of references= 22 pages in total


1. Epidemiology & Microbial Forensics - 5 PAGES

Part A.  You have been informed of an outbreak of a mysterious disease in Lexington, KY, occurring about two days following the Kentucky Derby.  Some patients have been admitted with encephalitis, but others who have shown up to the hospital display fatigue and back pain.  With the exception of a few family members of some patients, all patients attended the Kentucky Derby.  Several horses that were at the derby have suffered similar symptoms.  Without further information, decide what factor is the likely cause of these symptoms, and how you would test for this factor.  Describe possible scenarios for natural outbreak versus intentional attack that could be explained by this situation.  Investigate microbial tools that are available for this agent, and propose which one(s) you feel would provide the most information forensically.  Come up with five of the most important questions you would like to have answers to and the tools that would be used to get those answers.

Part B.  Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a major bioterror risk.  Containment is difficult, and requires the culling of large numbers of animals.  Furthermore, because the virus can live in native species such as deer, there is a high risk of the disease spreading far from the site of infection.  Do some research and analyze the foot and mouth outbreak that occurred in Britain in 2001.  What lessons were learned following that outbreak?  Apply these lessons to the risk of foot and mouth disease outbreak in the U.S.  Consider the differences between American and British farming practices and how these would impact an FMD outbreak.  What screening methods are currently in place for testing for the presence of foot and mouth disease in U.S. animal populations?  What forensic methods would you use to determine whether an outbreak was accidental or intentional?  Should an outbreak occur, what steps must be taken to stem the chances of an epizootic?

2.  Nonproliferation & Verification — 4 PAGES

Part A. What are the key factors that have motivated the development of biological weapons by states since its inception? What are the key factors that have led states to abandon biological weapon programs since the BWC came into effect? Explain why the verification protocol for the BWC collapsed in 2001. Explain why the U.S. opposed the protocol even to this day, after several presidents and their administrations have come and gone? Use historical and contemporary examples to support you argument.

Part B. No new states have been added to public lists of countries with probable or knowledge of biological weapons programs in recent years. Since all of you have written that the BWC has "no teeth," to what do you attribute the restraint in biological weapons proliferation among states? Do you expect it to continue? Be sure to discuss the potential roles of strategy, science, arms control and norms in such decisions.

3.  Policy & Intelligence - 4 PAGES

Part A. What are the challenges faced by intelligence agencies including, but not limited to, inspection regimes in collecting and analyzing information about biological weapons programs conducted by states and by terrorist groups? Use historical and contemporary examples to support your analysis. Propose two recommendations for how the United States could improve its intelligence on biological warfare or bioterrorism programs.

Part B. What are the three most important lessons learned relating to science, medicine, public health, law enforcement and homeland security from the use of biological agents by the Rajneesh cult in The Dalles, a small town in Oregon in 1984? To what extent do you believe current biodefense strategies, programs and policies reflect these lessons?

4.  Terrorism — 5 PAGES 

 Part A. In 2008, the Commission on the Prevention of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism wrote that, "Given the high level of know-how needed to use disease as a weapon to cause mass casualties, the United States should be less concerned that terrorists will become biologists and far more concerned that biologists will become terrorists." Explain with all the passion you can muster why you agree or disagree with that assessment.

Part B. Compare the potential for a large-scale terrorist attack on the Washington D.C. Metro Transit system using anthrax spores, sarin and a conventional suicide attack. What are the pros and cons of choosing one specific agent over another from the perspective of a terrorist group? Discuss each agent, how it works within the attack scenario and how first responders attempt to counter the attack.

Part C. What would a non-state actor require to (i) obtain and (ii) successfully use the weapons described above in Part B? Are there significant differences between chemical and biological agents that could affect the level of difficulty for successful acquisition and use? Be sure to analyze hurdles that must be overcome during each stage of the acquisition process, why a particular agent may be chosen, and why a particular approach may be chosen for dispersal.

5.  The Future – 3 PAGES

You are charged with establishing something that has not been done before: founding and developing the first International BioRisk Management Summit for 2015. State leaders and dignitaries from around the world will be invited to attend, deliberate and listen to experts in various fields of bioterrorism, biosecurity and biodefense. Your mission: (i) Create an agenda of topics you believe should be addressed at your global summit; and (ii) choose a keynote speaker (and the title of his/her opening presentation) and the corresponding speakers that you believe would best be suited to make specific presentations of the various topics that you have created within your program/agenda. Bottom line: Create a program with topics and speakers. Your summit program must be enticing in content and aesthetic to the eye in order to bring in the audience that could help shape the future in global biosecurity. What's in your program?
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