are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops. Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred.
A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals or plants. These agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they could be changed to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment. Biological agents can be spread through the air, through water or in food.
If governmental officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.
If you suspect bioterrorism, call 911 immediately, or contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department at 704-336-2817.