Local Bioterrorism as a Potential Global Threat

July 18, 2013

According to a new com­puter mod­eling research study from North­eastern Uni­ver­sity net­work sci­en­tist Alessandro Vespig­nani, when it comes to bioter­rorist attacks, “dis­eases have no bor­ders.” Thus, an out­break of smallpox intended to harm a local pop­u­la­tion would ulti­mately affect the entire planet.Vespig­nani, the Stern­berg Family Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Physics, Health Sci­ences, and Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence at North­eastern, and his team mod­eled the spread of a hypo­thet­ical smallpox virus across the globe and found that even with the most con­ser­v­a­tive esti­mates, a small ini­tial attack in the city of London would likely spread to two or four coun­tries before the first cases were even diag­nosed, Vespig­nani said. The results were reported in a paper pub­lished Wednesday (July 17, 2013) in the journal Sci­en­tific Reports.