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Bioterrorism: Preparing For The Unthinkable
  1. Prof DA Alexander, MA(Hons) C Psychol PhD FBPS (Hon) FRCPsych, Professor of Mental Health, Director1,2
  1. 1Medical School, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen.
  2. 2Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research, Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen. d.a.alexander{at}


Terrorism is not a new concept but our need to prepare for the effects of bioterrorism has achieved a particular urgency. The use of biological agents provides a new set of challenges to professional caregivers, emergency personnel and Governments. These agents are generally not readily identified through the senses, have delayed effects and have the power to generate fear and panic. They are also intended to demonstrate that Governments and other organisations are not able to protect their citizens and members.

What evidence there is suggests bioterrorist incidents have the potential to create higher levels of psychopathology than physical injury. Therefore, the authorities must identify and rehearse suitable methods of psychoprophylaxis and intervention.

  • Bioterrorism
  • Preparation
  • Training
  • Psychological Reactions

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