Eighty years of the threat and use of chemical warfare: The medical-organizational challenge

J. Shemer, Y. L. Danon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The threat of using chemical warfare (CW) by countries ruled by dictators and totalitarian governments still exists despite the Geneva Convention of 1925 that prohibited the use of CW. This situation forces nations and their armed forces to be in a state of preparedness in the event of a CW attack. A CW attack on an unprotected civilian population in a dense urban area can cause numerous casualties and become a mass disaster. However, this danger may be significantly reduced by: a) providing collective and individual protective measures, b) training the population in the use of protective measures, and c) early warning to provide sufficient lead time to use the various components of protection. Coping with a nonconventional warfare threat requires an innovative approach in the organization of the health care delivery system so as to maximize the number of survivors. The fact that the population is protected may deter the enemy from using CW since the potential destructive impact of CW is neutralized or at least reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-612
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume27
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chemical warfare
  • Mustard gas
  • Nerve gas
  • Persian gulf war

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