Biological Attack

Be Suspicious, But Do Not Assume


A biological attack is the release of germs or other biological substances.  Many agents must be inhaled, enter through a cut in the skin or be eaten to make you sick.  Some biological agents can cause contagious diseases, others do not.


A biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious.  While it is possible that you will see signs of a biological attack it is perhaps more likely that local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness.  Biological attacks are characterized by the onset of symptoms in hours to days.


You will probably learn of the danger through an emergency radio or TV broadcast.  If you become aware of an unusual or suspicious release of an unknown substance nearby, protect yourself.


  • Get away from the substance as quickly as possible.
    • Inhalation - Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing
    • Absorption - Wash with soap and water
    • Ingestion - Avoid eating and drinking in the contaminated area
  • At the time of a declared biological emergency be suspicious, but do not automatically assume that any illness is the result of the attack
  • Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap
  • Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice. 
  • Learn more about biological attacks here. 
  • Have an Emergency Supply Kit and Household Disaster Plan in place.