The kind of test that is used. Numerous tests are employed to detect the presence of bioterrorism agents. Blood cultures can take up to three days in some cases, for example, but Gram stains can be ready within an hour. However, some of these quicker tests will only give preliminary information, which must be confirmed with more comprehensive tests.
What we don't know about biological weapons of mass destruction
- It is not known who is in possession of biological weapons of mass destruction.
- Medical experts do not know if bacteria have been engineered to be resistant to antibiotics.
- Experts do not know how potent the strains will be in a biological attack.
- Experts do not know if the illnesses caused by some of these agents will be immediately recognizable.
- There is disagreement on how long some of these agents can survive in the environment.
- Experts do not know if the diseases these agents cause will be the same as past epidemics (e.g., is today's smallpox the same as the disease that was eradicated?).
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