Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “biological weapons”

Treatment of biological warfare agent casualties (US Navy)

Treatment of biological warfare agent casualties (US Navy) – http://www.med.navy.mil/directives/Pub/5042.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the symptoms of inhalation anthrax?
  • What is the prognosis for Melioidosis?
  • What are some lesser known but deadly agents I can have characters exposed to?


From the Preface:

This publication serves as a guide and a reference for trained members of the Armed Forces Medical Services and other medically qualified personnel on the recognition and treatment of biological warfare (BW) agent casualties. Information contained in this publication may also be relevant for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with naturally acquired diseases or illnesses due to pathogens with BW potential.

a. This publication

(1) Classifies and describes potential BW agents.
(2) Provides procedures for collecting, handling and labeling, shipping, and identifying
potential BW agents.
(3) Describes procedures for medical diagnosing, treating, and management of BW casualties.
(4) Describes medical management and treatment in BW operations.

The narrative text concludes with a glossary, references and an index.

Agents covered in this text are:

Bacterial Agents

  • Anthrax
  • Brucellosis
  • Melioidosis
  • Glanders
  • Plague
  • Q Fever
  • Tularemia

Viral Agents

  • Smallpox
  • Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers


  • Clostridium Botulinum Toxin
  • Clostridium Perfringens Toxins
  • Ricin
  • Saxitoxin
  • Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B
  • Trichothecene Mycotoxins

Medical Aspects of Biological Warfare (2007)

Medical Aspects of Biological Warfare (2007)

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/176925200)

(PDF: http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/Portlet.aspx?ID=66cffe45-c1b8-4453-91e0-9275007fd157)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What does a biosafety level-4 containment care suite look like?
  • What are some of the factors that determine the virulence of plague?
  • What do plague lesions look like?
  • How is anthrax diagnosed?
  • What are some symptoms of glanders?


From the preface:

Grounded in a historical perspective, this new volume, Medical Aspects of Biological Warfare, addresses weaponization of biological agents. It categorizes potential agents as food, waterborne, or agricultural toxins and discusses the respective epidemiology. A description of individual agents includes recent advances in the knowledge base and the illnesses induced. The authors present familiar (anthrax, plague, smallpox) and less often discussed biotoxins (alphaviruses, staphylococcal enterotoxins) and explain methods for early agent identification. To maximize understanding, authors used case studies and research along with successful management practices, treatments, and antidotes.

The description of the practical issues related to civil defense and the inherent differences between national, state, and metropolitan priorities with regard to biosurety, quarantine, crisis management, public affairs, and legal considerations is clear.

The main text is followed by a table of abbreviations and acronyms and an index.

Textbooks of Military Medicine

Textbooks of Military Medicine – http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can lack of sleep contribute to a friendly fire incident?
  • How long can the average person go without sleep and still be effective?
  • How can a prosthetic leg be set up to allow someone to bicycle?
  • How do you decontaminate someone exposed to chemical warfare agents?
  • How does the military measure eye trauma?
  • Where can I get detailed information about decompression sickness?


To get to the textbooks, you’ll need to click on one of the Textbooks of Military Medicine links, which will take you to http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/Portlet.aspx?id=82200b57-a7a4-4160-bb51-4a086dd6ccce.

This page links to the full text of the textbook series in reverse chronological order by publishing date. To help you focus on topics, here is my effort to group them by topic:



Environmental Aspects


Nuclear/Chemical/Biological Warfare

Physical Injury

Preventive Medicine


Each book is presented as a web page with PDF files for chapters and/or sections. If this format is uncomfortable for you, these books ought to be available through your library, at least through interlibrary loan. Some of the books are available for purchase, others are out of print.

Be warned that some of the volumes have disturbing photographs, as one might expect from medical textbooks.

If you are a regular writer of war stories, I would highly recommend keeping all of these volumes bookmarked or buying as many of the physical volumes as possible.

Timeline for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Department of Defense)

Timeline for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Department of Defense) – http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/timeline/index.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What sort of medical record keeping did the US military do before and after the Persian Gulf War?
  • Where can I find an account of incidents involving bioweapons detection by US allies?
  • When was awarding of the National Defense Service Medal authorized for US forces?
  • How were SCUD missiles used by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War and what payloads did they carry?


A timeline of the major events of the Persian Gulf War with full text links to reports and other documents created during and after the conflict. Aside from providing a useful scaffold of events for your stories, the linked reports may help in giving characters physical and psychological complications.

Post Navigation