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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2003 Sep;3(5):605-16.

Molecular diagnostic techniques for use in response to bioterrorism.

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Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1900 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70112-2223, USA.


The use of micro-organisms as agents of biological warfare is considered inevitable for several reasons, including ease of production and dispersion, delayed onset of symptoms, ability to cause high rates of morbidity and mortality and difficulty in diagnosis. Therefore, the clinical presentation and pathogenesis of the organisms posing the highest threat (variola major, Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Clostridium botulinum toxin, Francisella tularensis, filoviruses, arenaviruses and Brucella species), as well as the available diagnostic techniques and treatments for such infections, will be reviewed in this article. Due to the necessity of rapid identification and diagnosis, molecular techniques have been the ongoing focus of current research. Consequently, the molecular diagnostic techniques that have recently been developed for the diseases associated with these agents will be emphasized.

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