In contrast to CW agents, the presence of BW agents cannot be detected by the physical senses or by chemical detectors. Their presence or identity can be determined only by laboratory examination of air samples or contaminated objects. The time lag between exposure to BW and the onset of symptoms will usually be a matter of days, rather than hours. All persons will not be similarly affected even though exposed to the same dosage of BW agents. Some may escape disease entirely, some may have a very mild attack, and some may become seriously ill.
Defense against BW is not simple or easy. Individual protection against a BW attack includes the use of protective equipment. The protective equipment used for defense against CW may also be used for BW defense. Your first line of defense against BW is the natural resistance of the body (the immune system) and maintaining your body in the best possible physical condition. A high standard of personal cleanliness and careful attention to sanitation are your best assurance against the spread of disease. Such steps are supported by the immunizations you receive periodically.
The inhalation of airborne germs is considered to be the greatest potential hazard in BW. Your protective mask is an important component of defensive equipment. A properly fitted mask, which has been kept in good condition, will greatly reduce the danger of inhaling infectious material present in the air. Since you cannot detect the presence of biological agents, you may be ordered to use your protective mask and equipment until the danger has passed. Your commanding officer will base his/her decision upon information received from intelligence reports and the advice of his/her technical staff or higher headquarters.
To produce disease, germs must actually gain entrance into your body. When germs collect on your skin, they may be transferred to a portal of entry, through your nose or mouth. Cuts or open sores are an invitation to germs trying to enter your body. Make sure you keep cuts bandaged. Any type of clothing will provide some protection against BW agents. The degree of protection depends upon the size of the pores in the fabric and the number of layers of clothing being worn. To keep out germs and disease-bearing insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, it is important to fasten the shirt and jacket collar, roll down sleeves and button cuffs, and tie down all other clothes. A special uniform (not discussed in this book) used for protection against CW agents gives a higher degree of protection against BW agents than ordinary clothing.
The extent to which decontamination can be accomplished following exposure to BW agents depends upon the existing tactical situation and the facilities available. Each person is responsible for carrying out personal decontamination measures at the earliest opportunity.
If you are exposed to BW agents, scrub yourself thoroughly with soap and water as soon as the combat situation permits. Give special attention to your face and hands. To remove dirt from under your nails, use a fingernail brush. Also, brush your teeth frequently. Carefully remove your contaminated clothes and take a bath or shower. All washable clothes polluted with germs should be scrubbed at the first opportunity.
Always be careful about the food and water you consume in combat. If you are told that a BW attack has occurred, be extremely cautious. One of the easiest ways to get biological agents inside your body is to swallow them along with your food and water. Defense against BW includes:
Remember the "BIO" sign; it means the area is contaminated with biological agents.
Do not pick and eat fruits or berries.
Do not chew grass or leaves.
Do not eat native food or drink native beverages. They may be contaminated intentionally or unintentionally.
Do not take souvenirs.
Consume only beverages received from military sources.
Do not bathe in lakes or ponds.
Do not touch animals.
The following survival tips are recommended for your protection:
REPORT SICKNESS PROMPTLY. If you become ill, notify medical immediately.
KEEP YOURSELF AND YOUR LIVING QUARTERS CLEAN. Do not foster the growth of germs by making it easy for them to multiply. GermsContinue Reading