A Scoping Review on Category A Agents as Bioweapons

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Category A agents are biological pathogens that could pose a threat to health and human safety if used as bioweapons. The exploration and possibility of these threats must be comprehensively reviewed to create a preparedness plan to recognize outbreaks, to educate the public, and to offer vaccinations and/or treatment options, if available. A scoping review using PRISMA guidelines was performed to categorize current information on Category A biological agents as well as understand their potential for future threats. The results used 34 articles and found that while botulin neurotoxins were the most lethal, anthrax posed the most likely threat for use as a bioweapon. Most research was conducted on plague, though it is not the most likely threat. Smallpox is the most likely agent to vaccinate against as there is already a working vaccine that has proven effective and the issue at hand is the need for a larger stockpile. Ultimately, preparedness efforts should include vaccinations and continued research and development of them. Category A agents are a serious public health concern; updated and reformed bioterrorism preparedness plans could greatly minimize panic and mortality.


This article was originally published in Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Prehospital and Disaster Medicine


© The Author(s), 2021.