Biological disasters are outbreaks of diseases or contagions of plant and animal life on an epidemic or pandemic level or infestations of animal or insect life on an epidemic or pandemic level. Examples of biological disasters include cholera and influenza H1N1 (swine flu).
Epidemic-level biological disasters affect large numbers of people within a given community or area, whereas pandemic-level biological disasters effect a much larger region, sometimes spanning entire continents or the globe. Cholera is an epidemic-level biological disaster, while swine flu is a pandemic. Other epidemic examples include Ebola, dengue fever, malaria and the measles.
The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) categorizes biological hazards that could potentially cause a biological disaster into four levels. These are classified as biosafety levels 1-4 or BSL 1-4. BSL 1 contains viruses like chicken pox and requires only the use of facial covering and gloves to protect against contagion.
BSL 2 contains diseases and viruses that are not generally airborne, such as hepatitis and HIV. BSL 2 takes more extreme precautions within a lab setting for safety purposes, including the use of autoclaves for sterilizing and biological safety cabinets.
BSL 3 includes diseases that cause potentially fatal reactions in humans and requires much more stringent safety protocols within the lab. This can include the use of respirators to prevent airborne infection. Biological hazards in this group generally have known vaccines or treatments.
BSL 4 contains biological hazards that are potentially fatal to humans for which there is no known treatment or vaccine. Laboratory safety includes the use of full-body safety suits.Learn More
A biological key, also known as an identification key or a dichotomous key, is a way to classify organisms by giving the classifier two options in each stage until identification occurs. For example, in order to identify the tree, a biological key gives two choices – conifer or broadleaf – with a description of each one. Depending on the answer, another question pops up to narrow down the species.Full Answer >
Biological evidence in forensic science includes organic materials, such as blood, semen, hair, saliva and skin tissue. Forensic scientists use fingernail scrapings and bone to identify victims and criminals. Biological evidence is extremely important in cases of sexual assault and violent crimes.Full Answer >
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, biological determinism, which is also known as biologism or biodeterminism, is the concept that the majority of human physical and mental characteristics are determined at conception by hereditary factors. These factors are passed from parent to child.Full Answer >
The biological spectrum consists of all living organisms divided into three domains, coexisting across various levels of biological organization. Microbiologist Carl Woese organized all known organisms into a phylogenetic tree of life based on RNA and common ancestor comparisons. The three domains are bacteria, archaea and eukaryota, which are further subdivided into kingdoms. All three domains exist on various levels of biological organization, from a cellular level to its biosphere.Full Answer >