History of Biological Warfare




1754-1767, New England Smallpox British Army gave smallpox-infested blankets to American Indians during the French and Indian war.
Christopher GW, Cieslak TJ, Pavlin JA, Eitzen EM, Jr. 1997. Biological Warfare: A Historical Perspective. J Am Med Assoc. 278:412-417.
1932 Anthrax, Cholera, Shigellosis, Salmonella, and Plague. Japanese Army tested biological toxins on prisoners at Unit 731 Harbin, Manchuria, China. At least 10,000 died. Christopher GW, Cieslak TJ, Pavlin JA, Eitzen EM, Jr. 1997. Biological Warfare: A Historical Perspective. J Am Med Assoc. 278:412-417.
Walker DH, Yampolska O, Grinberg LM. 1994. Death at Sverdlovsk: What have we learned. Am J Pathol 144:1135-1141.
1941-1945 Anthrax USA tested Anthrax weapons on sheep, they and the USSR developed several bioweapons. Germany did not develop bioweapons.
1961-1969 Anthrax USA and Russia produced and stored billions of anthrax spores for use in biological weapons, the program was ended by the Nixon administration.
1975 All biological weapons CPCW convention prohibited the production and stockpiling of biological weapons.
1980 Botulinum A German Red Army cell in Paris, France, was arrested by police, who discovered in their appartment, growth chambers for Clostridium botulinum and literature describing the purification of the toxin. The group had threatened to poison water supplies in Germany. [link]
1984 Salmonella Members of the religious cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh sprayed the salad bars of 4 restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon, with a solution containing Salmonella. 751 people were sickened, but none died. [link] [link]
1991-1995 Botulinum Botulinum aerosols were released in downtown Tokyo, Japan, and near USA military installations in Japan on at least 3 occasions by the religious cult Aum Shinriky. These attacks were unsuccesful, but a later (1995) attack by the cult in a Tokyo subway, using the nerve gas sarin killed 12 and injured over 5500. [link] [link]
1991-1996 Anthrax, Botulinum and Aflatoxin Iraqi military developed and used biological weapons in their conflicts with Iran and with the Kurds.
Zilinskas RA. 1997. Iraq's biological weapons: The past as future? J Am Med Assoc 278:418-424. NYTimes10/14/14
1996 Sigella dysenteriae The 12 workers at a medical center in Texas who contracted a rare form of dysentery had all eaten donuts at the center's coffee room on October 12, and then experienced diarrhea, vomiting, headache and fever. The bacterium in their stool matched that in the laboratory, and part of the lab's stock of the bacterium was missing. No arrests were made, but it was clearly an intentional act. [link]
2001 Anthrax Letters containing Anthrax spores were mailed from New Jersey 10 days after 911. Five persons died, 22 were infected.
Center for the study of bioterrorism and emerging diseases
PhRMA Biological and Chemical Weapons Links
Smallpox as a biological Weapon
Influenza as a biological Weapon
Virus diseases
Last updated 4/22/15 O.K.Davis