marked clean or contaminated. Decontamination kits, protective ointment, and an abundant supply of soap and water must be provided. In addition, standard first-aid items should be on hand. It will be extremely helpful if small trestles, boxes, or similar supports are improvised so that stretchers may be placed on them and thus be raised off the deck.
Personnel handling contaminated cases must avoid spreading contamination to other personnel and to spaces not set aside as areas of reception of contaminated cases. Contaminated personnel, clothing, or equipment must be kept out of uncontaminated areas. The subsequent decontamination of such spaces is quite difficult and must be avoided. Contaminated clothing and gear must be placed in designated dump areas and, insofar as practical, must be kept in metal cans with tightly fitting covers.
The medical officer or Medical Department representative is responsible for maintaining adequate supplies for the decontamination and treatment of CBR casualties.
Medical decontamination supplies are supplied to ships of the force on a personnel strength basis as listed in current AMALs.
The cabinets will be kept locked, and the keys will be in custody of the damage control assistant during emergency conditions. Cabinets and chests will be stenciled with a red cross and marked DECONTAMINATION MEDICAL SUPPLIES.
Epidemics arising from natural causes have plagued military forces for centuries and in many instances have determined the outcome of campaigns. In the past, recognition of this drain on personnel undoubtedly has led to attempts to produce illness in epidemic proportions through pollution of water and food supplies as well as through other means, but the dissemination of disease-producing organisms has never been employed on any significant scale as a weapon of war.
Since World War II, due to the general advancement of knowledge in the various fields of biological sciences and as a result of known research in many countries on the use of microorganisms as a weapon of war, biological warfare has become a very real possibility.
In the hands of an unscrupulous enemy, antianimal and antiplant agents could be powerful instruments of war, reducing or destroying a nations food supply. This chapter, however, is concerned only with agents that would be effective against populations, and although their effectiveness has never been established by actual use in war, they are considered to have grave military capabilities.
Biological warfare has certain aspects in common with chemical warfare in that biological agents may be dispersed in the air and may travel downwind in the same manner as a gas cloud. These agents may be inhaled unless a protective mask is worn and may cause disability or death. They are capable of contaminating clothing, equipment, food, and water supplies. Some types of agents may persist in the target area for considerable periods of time.
Biological agents, unlike most war gases, cannot be detected by the physical senses or by chemical detectors, and their presence or identity can be determined only by laboratory examination of air samples or contaminated objects. The time lag between exposure and the onset of disease symptoms will usually be a matter of days, rather than hours, as is the case with most chemical agents. All persons will not be similarly affected even though exposed to the same dosage of biological agents. Some may escape disease entirely, some may have a very mild attack, and some may become seriously ill.
As in the case of exposure to most communicable diseases, the natural resistance of the body and the maintenance of the body in the best possible physical condition constitute important lines of defense against biological agents. However, immunity and states of good health cannot be expected to triumph over massive onslaughts of biological agents that may have been tailored to create varying degrees of incapacitation including death. To reduce the effectiveness of such attacks, protective equipment has been provided and defensive measures have been delineated to protect the individual.