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September 12, 1959


Author Affiliations

U. S. Army

Commanding Officer, U. S. Army Medical Unit, Fort Detrick, Md.

JAMA. 1959;171(2):217-220. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.73010200040014k

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Most of this program has been concerned with mass casualties resulting from nuclear weapons. My responsibility is to describe briefly the medical problems posed by two other methods of producing casualties; namely, chemical and biological warfare. Neither is associated with physical destruction. Using either chemical or biological warfare agents, an enemy could induce illness or death in varying numbers of personnel. Having admitted this capability, there then devolves on us, as a part of our basic medical responsibility, the requirement to be able to handle such attacks.

About the only real similarity chemical and biological warfare agents have is in the method of dissemination. The most likely use of either would be with various devices capable of producing large numbers of very small air-borne particles or aerosols. The entry of these particles into the body is through the respiratory tract or, in the case of certain chemical agents, through the

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