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China Publishes Handbook on Signs of Poison Attack

July 20, 2008

Text of report by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[By reporter Zhang Jingyong: "What Are the Circumstances Under Which a Chemical or Biological Terror Attack May Have Occurred?"]

Beijing, 20 Jul (Xinhua) – What are the circumstances under which a chemical terror attack or a biological terror attack may have happened? The answer can be found in the “Brace Yourself Against Terror Attack: A Citizen’s Handbook,” printed and distributed by the Bureau of Counterterrorism of the Ministry of Public Security.

These are the signs that point to the possible occurrence of a chemical terror attack: unusual odors, such as the smell of garlic, sharp or pungent smell, and the smell of bitter almonds; unusual phenomena, such as insects dying in masses, unusual smoke, and unusual changes to plants; unusual sensations, as people who have been exposed to a toxic chemical agent or a chemical poison will develop varying degrees of discomfort under normal circumstances, such as nausea, chest tightness, convulsion, and skin rash; presence of unusual objects at the scene, such as abandoned gas masks, buckets, pots and cans, and plastic bags containing liquid.

These are the signs that point to the possible occurrence of a biological terror attack: In the incident area, unidentified powder or liquid, abandoned containers and masks, or hordes of insects have been found; a considerable number of human casualties have occurred within 48 to 72 hours of a microbial terror attack or within minutes to hours of a terrorist poison attack; a large number of identical clinical cases have emerged among the personnel at the scene or a disease that did not exist in a given geographic area previously or was extremely rare in that area has emerged; an unusual epidemic has occurred in a non-epidemic area; patients are distributed along the direction of the prevailing wind, accompanied by a large outbreak of animal cases; and so on and so forth.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency domestic service, Beijing, in Chinese 0036 20 Jul 08.

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