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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 126-131

The challenge of preparation for a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist attack

1 Department of Mental Health, School of Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; Director, Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research, United Kingdom
2 Faculty of Health and Social Care, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
David A Alexander
Department of Mental Health, School of Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Scotland; Director, Aberdeen Centre for Trauma Research
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 16679677

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions

Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, but, in the contemporary scene, it has established itself in a manner which commands the most serious attention of the authorities. Until relatively recently, the major threat has been through the medium of conventional weaponry and explosives. Their obvious convenience of use and accessibility guarantees that such methods will continue to represent a serious threat. However, over the last few years, terrorists have displayed an enthusiasm for higher levels of carnage, destruction and publicity. This trend leads inexorably to the conclusion that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) methods will be pursued by terrorist organisations, particularly those which are well organised, are based on immutable ideological principles, and have significant financial backing. Whilst it is important that the authorities and the general public do not risk over-reacting to such a threat (otherwise, they will do the work of the terrorists for them), it would be equally ill-advised to seek comfort in denial. The reality of a CBRN event has to be accepted and, as a consequence, the authorities need to consider (and take seriously) how individuals and the community are likely to react thereto and to identify (and rehearse in a realistic climate) what steps would need to be taken to ameliorate the effects of such an event.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow