Book Review

Bioterrorism: How You Can Survive

Russell L. Blaylock, MD

(36 pp., $10.00, Physician's Preferences, Katy, TX,, 1-877-351-0593)


Bioterrorism took front and center stage in October 2001, only a month after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But, the United States has been threatened by terrorism for more than 15 years, e.g., the 1984 Salmonella contamination in Oregon and the 1996 Shigella hospital contamination in Texas. In 1998, Robin Cook, M.D., points out in Vector (Penguin Putnam, Inc, ©1999) that what his characters say about bioweapons and bioterrorism is true. Cook states that it is not whether a major bioterrorism attack in the United States will occur, but when. As he predicted, anthrax spores were sent by mail three years later, in October 2001. With a few dozen envelopes, terrorists have demonstrated that almost anyone can be affected. As a result, three people have died and 41 have been infected.

The Soviet program, under the aegis of Biopreparate, which at its height employed more than 50,000 scientists and technicians in over forty research and production facilities, was allegedly dismantled by Yeltsin in 1989. The resulting diaspora of thousands of highly trained bioweapons personnel left many wondering: where are these people and what are they doing?

Bioterrorism: How You Can Survive is a timely printed work by neurosurgeon Russell L Blaylock, M.D. Published just after the biological terrorism events of October 2001, it provides a fresh presentation of facts, along with a hopeful perspective. The general public does not see the enemy as a unified terrorist network, but rather small groups of disgruntled, poorly educated, impoverished nut cases who periodically cause nasty things to happen, posing no real danger to the powerful West. The dispersed and disjointed appearance of their network is not a weakness, but a strength that makes the counter terrorist's job more difficult. Many terrorism experts feel biological agents are too difficult to dispense. University specialists in infectious diseases, without expertise in weaponized biological agents, merely describe naturally occurring disease. One even assured the audiences that anthrax would not make a good terrorist weapon.

But Blaylock quotes Dr. Michael Osterholm, author of Living Terrors, as stating that the many, inexpensive, compact aerosol devices available can efficiently dispense these biological weapons. Even a humidifier can be effective in dispersing test organisms over a wide area. In comparison, to kill everyone in a square kilometer, conventional weapons would cost $2,000, nuclear $800, nerve gas $600 and biological weapons $1. Crop dusting airplanes can be easily purchased on the Internet, without a trace. As Major General Marshall Stubbs warned in 1986, an enemy with only ten aircraft with dry biological material, such as anthrax or plague, could kill or incapacitate 70 million Americans.

Other bioweapons difficult for us to defend against, such as smallpox and plague, are chosen by terrorists for that very reason. Vaccines are specific and will not protect against many microorganisms that have been weaponized. Blaylock outlines the basic care we should follow if exposed. He recommends nutritional supplements and dietary modifications to protect against bioterrorism, and a list of items for our emergency supply chest. In case of onset of disease, he provides a program for maximizing body defenses.

Blaylock points out the pitfalls in the information provided by experts and the media. Not only do the terrorists want to kill us, but also destroy our economy. The destruction of the World Trade Center killed 3,000 people and put over a million people out of work. Blaylock reminds us that terrorism is not an end in itself. Initially it made demands and changed foreign policy. Then terrorism destroyed property --- airplanes, ships and embassies. As the level of violence increased, the demands decreased. Now terrorism seeks a world socialist government ruled by terrorist elite, under the guise of Islamic fundamentalism. As their writings and speeches proclaim, the new goal is total destruction of the West, Judeo-Christian values, capitalism and Christianity itself. Nothing less will be accepted.

Joseph D. Douglass, Jr., PhD, coauthor of America the Vulnerable: The Threat of Chemical and Biological Warfare and CBW: The Poor Man's Atomic Bomb, states that Blaylock's book is the best he has read regarding the problem of biological warfare. He surmises that we have just seen the initial warning of terrorist attacks; escalation can come in almost any form.

If the limited attack through the mail system can overwhelm the capabilities of our CDC, what will happen in a terrorist attack affecting thousands and possibly millions? Physicians and families should become familiar with Blaylock's pamphlet. Our survival could depend on the information he provides.

Reviewed by Del Meyer, MD
Sacramento, CA

Dr. Meyer is a pulmonologist and a member of the Editorial Board of the Medical Sentinel. His e-mail is:

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 2002;7(2):67. Copyright©2002 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).