Could Terrorists Spread Killer Virus?

#1
HERE
Sky News said:
Could Terrorists Spread Killer Virus?
Updated: 08:37, Thursday July 12, 2007

Terrorists who have infiltrated the NHS could easily get access to deadly viruses and dangerous chemicals, according to a security specialist.

Viruses could be terror targetThe unnamed expert said lax security in Britain's hospitals left them vulnerable to the theft of lethal substances.

The Health Service Journal quoted him as saying such thefts could go unnoticed for days.

"Most hospitals give staff cards that let them into certain areas, but it's easy to lend someone your pass," he said.

"That could give them access to X-ray machines, isotopes, chemicals and disease slides. It could be days before anyone realised a virus was missing.

"The official view is that the threat to hospitals is fairly low, but we're just as vulnerable as any nightclub - these people want maximum impact."

The warning comes days after it emerged that seven of the eight people held over the failed car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow had links to the NHS.

David Amos, the Department Of Health's former deputy director general of workforce, said up to one in five NHS trusts were not following guidelines on screening staff.

Gordon Brown has ordered Security Minister Sir Alan West to examine potential failings in NHS overseas recruitment procedures after the attempted terrorist attacks.

A spokesman said the NHS Security Management Service was committed to protecting the NHS from terrorism.
yeah ... right.

... rumour has it that NHS management are thinking of setting up a feasibility study as to whether it would be worth them delivering healthcare.
 
#2
I recall that only a short while ago U.K. hospitals WERE a killer virus!

That aside, I'd be more concerned about the safety of the water supply and 'fresh' foodstuffs in supermarkets. IIRC the U.S. had a serious outbreak of poisoning from spinach earlier this year.
 
#4
Bugly said:
They've managed to reintroduce TB to this country.
You can thank the wet lettuce brigade for that. Everyone was saying that Indian Subcontinant people needed to be screened when they came into the country because they were bringing in TB but the message that came back was that it was an issue with poor social housing and that you couldn't aim the blame at a particular minority group for it because it was racist. Couple of years on and TB has a good foothold in this country again, they are setting up special units to try and tackle it and talking of screening people.

Anyone in the areas where the first few cases came to light could call what the problem was and what the solution had to be but, of course, you were being racist. What a ridiculous situation to allow PC sensibilities to cause a health risk. Too much pussyfooting about.
 
#5
Bugly said:
They've managed to reintroduce TB to this country.
TB has always been around, its just only a few people per year get it now.
 
#6
Going back to the original post.."Can Terrorists disseminate a virus"
Thats obviously a yes! Its as easy as passing on a cold to someone.
Can a terrorist get their hands on something that virulent? I doubt it very much.
 
#7
I think you'll find that's not entirely true, JumpShip. Maybe an ARRSEr with the relevant expertise can put us right, but TB is on the increase, and it's resistant to drugs, now. It's highly contagious, and guaranteed to f*ck you up, pretty much. There's been a number of outbreaks recently, including one or two in schools, in Swansea, and Luton (I believe).

While it's been traditionally linked to poor living conditions, it would seem that it's now being imported into this country, and that the connection between TB and poverty in Britain (in the present day) is not quite what it seems - ie the primary sources of the disease are outside Britain, and it's being brought in. I read somewhere that the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets/Bethnal Green have TB rates comparable to Sao Paulo, largely because there is no screening of immigrants, legal or otherwise.

When I applied for a visa to live in America, I had to undergo a medical with a doctor chosen by the US Embassy, and have a chest x-ray (at my own expense, and rightly so). I doubt these sensible precautions feature as requirements for anyone coming to GB, even less so if they arrive underneath an HGV.
 
#8
No, I was just commenting on the "they reintroduced" TB has always been around, having worked on a cardio thorastic ward for the best part of my post QA. I have seen many cases of TB, long term and also newly contracted.

I was just stating that it has always been around, and about 10 years ago their was about 100 new cases nation wide. where as now we are seeing 100 times more newly diagnosed then before.
 
#9
Tower Hamlets and Newham, especially Newham, were where the "outbreak" was first reported I believe for TB. TB had been gotton hold of and controlled by the immunisation that all kids get at school etc. People travelling from the Indian Subcontinant have brought it back. The fact that these people lived in deprived areas of London (Tower Hamlets is the poorest Borough in the country) was coincidental.
 
#10
seing as they can't even make a canister of gas explode i don't think we need to worry about them spreading deadly viruses
 
#11
Absolutely, Crivelli. I worked in Newham almost 20 years ago, and the problem was known about then. I doubt much has been done about it since, as far as screening the carriers who bring it in goes. That would almost certainly be 'racist', ofcourse. Twenty years on, we can all pretend it's an indigenous problem.
 
#12
crivelli said:
Tower Hamlets and Newham, especially Newham, were where the "outbreak" was first reported I believe for TB. TB had been gotton hold of and controlled by the immunisation that all kids get at school etc. People travelling from the Indian Subcontinant have brought it back. The fact that these people lived in deprived areas of London (Tower Hamlets is the poorest Borough in the country) was coincidental.
Whilst it is true TB is being brought into the country, it is not true that it was erradicated by the immunisation programme, it was just as you said controlled in other words the number of cases was kept to an acceptable level. I remeber im my time in the service we had a sailor go down with TB in one of the submarines and a very rapid testing of people from that boat to ensure it did not spread. TB is always there just waiting for a chance to get a hold again and I would agree that testing of migrants may be a good idea, but are you suggesting that every one who goes abroad should be tested on return or just those whose colour fits. Many Europeans also visit India, do they need tested too.
 
#13
There is a very real threat that smallpox and other such nasties could be used as a biological weapon from a terrorist organisation
 

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#14
Bloody difficult, they would need serious lab and industrial capacity to be able to create enough of a bad enough bug - say anthrax - in sufficient qtys to cause a lot of damage.

They could cause a mass panic though and fairly easily - effective weapon? Doubt it.
 
#15
Maxi - I'm not drawing a straight race link to TB - colour is not a determining issue, obviously, since it's also brought in by Eastern Europeans. Tower Hamlets, Bethnal Green, Newham, happen to have large, very large, non-white immigrant populations. Pretty much an enclave of the Third World, with the attendant health problems associated with those parts of the world.
 
#16
without a doubt they can, we have been largely free of major plagues and virus for many years and has no immunisation program in place for years.
I was one of the last ones to get a Smallpox vaccination, since then I haven't heard of any more since, It will not take much for somebody to work in a lab and possibly recreate a Smallpox virus and infect themselves and spread it, the risk is there and is magnified by the fact the world population has no immunity to this and other contagious virus.

there was a pseudo documentry set 4 years after the great "mallpox plague of 2004" which a hypothetical situation of a Muslim Terrorist infects himself with a smallpox virus and its effect on the world and local communities as welll the potential social breakdown of law and order, quiet interesting and frightening, even my vaccination may not be effective as a different strain of Smallpox could be created.

I think mass immunisation program should be reinstated to reduce the risk.
 
#18
and how long after the inital cases were seen would someone make the link and identify such an outbreak as being deliberate? I would suggest that it rumour and counter rumour would have a major effect
 
#19
Nosher361 said:
Maxi - I'm not drawing a straight race link to TB - colour is not a determining issue, obviously, since it's also brought in by Eastern Europeans. Tower Hamlets, Bethnal Green, Newham, happen to have large, very large, non-white immigrant populations. Pretty much an enclave of the Third World, with the attendant health problems associated with those parts of the world.
The big problem of course is if we are going to do entry screening who should be screened, and really without 100% screening which is impossible we are really pissing against the wind and I suspect that it has been decided that most if not all of the of the potential problems are more economically dealt with in the community. Of course that often does not help already problematic communities.
 
#20
Bugly said:
A terrorist would only have to cause death in a few people using a contaigous biological weapon for there to be mass panic.
Mind you from time to time lots of people have very seriously looked at developing bio weapons and so far the impression is that they fail the pracyicallity test. They are difficult to controll, difficult to transport and deliver and often create as big a risk for your side as the other. They are not the sort of things easily worked on in your kitchen or an Afghan cave.

Chemical attacks may well be more practical for the terrorist but the controls on precurser chemicals do seem to have tightenned although I suspect they are not absolute. A recreation of the Tokyo attack in the underground could be just as effective as a bomb, perhaps more so.
 

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