Implications of Antibiotic Resistance in Potential Agents of Bioterrorism

  • Linda M. Weigel
  • Stephen A. Morse
Part of the Infectious Disease book series (ID)

One of the latest challenges to global public health is the deliberate dissemination of a biological agent via a number of different routes, including air, water, food, and infected vectors, to affect the health of humans. U.S. Congress began to address this challenge by providing funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to enhance the ability of the nation’s epidemiology and laboratory systems to respond to the deliberate release of a biological agent (1). A Strategic National Stockpile (SNS, formerly called the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile) was also established to provide large quantities of essential medical materiel to states and communities during such an emergency. The SNS contains antibiotics as well as chemical antidotes, antitoxins, life-support medications, intravenous administration kits, airway maintenance supplies, and medical/surgical items (2). The broad–spectrum antibiotics in the SNS play an important role in providing postexposure prophylaxis and treatment for individuals exposed to or infected with a bacterial agent as a result of a deliberate release. The antibiotics in the SNS were selected, in part, for their effectiveness on the basis of the current data for antimicrobial susceptibility of each bacterial species. However, revelations during the last decade suggested that in the former Soviet Union, a priority of the offensive biological weapons program was the development of recombinant organisms that were resistant to common therapies (3–5). With the increased potential for deliberate dispersal of antimicrobial–resistant pathogens, determining the antimicrobial susceptibility of suspected agents of bioterrorism has become essential for selection and distribution of effective prophylactic or therapeutic treatments. The objective of this chapter is to examine issues concerning antimicrobial susceptibility testing and antimicrobial resistance in selected bacterial agents that have been identifi ed for public health preparedness efforts.


Antimicrobial Susceptibility Antimicrob Agent Polymerase Chain Reac Bacillus Anthracis Fusaric Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda M. Weigel
    • 1
  • Stephen A. Morse
    • 2
  1. 1.Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory, Division of Healthcare Quality PromotionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious DiseasesCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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