The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a "Dirty Dozen" list, naming 12 diseases that they and other officials are monitoring because the infectious agents pose significant bio-terrorism threats, according to the CDC and a forthcoming paper in the journal Building and Environment.
Efforts are underway to design biosensors to detect the Dirty Dozen, which are diseases that have high mortality rates, can be difficult to diagnose, generate public panic and more, explain lead author Elvira Brauner and colleagues from Aalborg University.
First on the list is anthrax.
"The use of biological agents against enemies has persisted throughout centuries and the use of anthrax spores on civilians in (the) USA in 2001 suggests a growing worldwide threat," explained Brauner and her team. "Safeguarding spaces under attack requires rapid detection and identification."
Anthrax, spread by spores of the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, can cause skin lesions, pneumonia and gastrointestinal problems.