Sample Political Science Research Paper on Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

International terrorism is a significant strategic challenge to global peace and security in the 21st century because terrorist organizations are able to move across borders and execute their operations anywhere in the world. To begin with, it is worth noting that Ebola virus has so far been reported in two African regions, West Africa, which includes countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria and East Africa that includes countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Both regions have seen the emergence of terrorist organizations like the Boko Haramin Northern Nigeria, the Al Shabaab from Somalia and Al Qaeda networks in the East African region. In West Africa, Nigeria has suffered many terror attacks executed by Boko Haram. “In East Africa, countries such as Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda have been attacked by Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda networks.”[1] One of the methods that terrorists apply is bioterrorism, which involves using humans as the vector from which the biological weapon is launched.[2] . “The existence of these terrorist organizations in regions where Ebola naturally occurs is a significant threat to global security because these terrorist groups could easily use Ebola as a biological weaponand share the tactic with other terrorist organizations across the globe.”[3]

“The Ebola virus is naturally occurring among animals and can be passed to human beings through contact with body fluids.”[4] Given that the symptoms of Ebola are similar to many other diseases, it is much difficult to diagnose the disease. An individual with Ebola can easily be misdiagnosed and given wrong treatment and released back to the community. This poses a global health threat because the disease has a significantly high mortality rate. This is presently evident in West Africa where “case fatality rates have reached 52%, with 1,552 killed out of the 3,069 infected.” [5]Although scientists have made remarkable progress toward finding Ebola vaccine, there is no vaccine that is presently available, which makes the disease a major public health threat internationally in the event that terrorists use it in biological terrorism.

However, the Ebola virus in itself does not qualify to be a biological weapon. “It requires special expertise to change it into a biological weapon”[6]. For terrorists to use Ebola as a biological agent they have to get it from its natural environment, from a laboratory or produce it synthetically before preparing it in a manner that can cause infections and death. “There are eight different cases where terrorists acquired biological agents either through authorized suppliers, stealing, self-manufacturing, or from natural environment”[7]. This evidence indicates that there is a high possibility that terrorists can access the Ebola virus, considering that some terrorist groups already exist in these Ebola prone areas. “In the past, Soviets researchers developed Ebola strains to use in bio warfare. Similarly, it is possible terrorist groups to recruit experts to synthesize the Ebola virus for them or even steal Ebola samples from laboratories. For example, “Iran successfully managed to recruit a number of scientists to spearhead its bioweapons program.”[8]

In conclusion, there is likelihood that terrorists can make use of the Ebola virus to cause significant damage across the globe. The use of this virus could become a major strategy for terrorist groups in the future because it can spread quickly and cause many deaths. The virus spreads with relative ease, which makes it a viable tool for international terrorist organizations and a significant threat to international security.



End Notes

[1] Victoroff, Jeffrey Ivan. Tangled Roots: Social and psychological factors in the genesis of terrorism. Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Press, 2006: 423-425. Print.

[2] Ibid. p. 424

[3] Olson, Kyle . ‘AumShinrikyo: Once And Future Threat?’.Emerging Infectious Diseases 5.4 (1999): 513. Print.

[4] MacNeil, Adam, and Pierre Rollin.‘Ebola And Marburg Hemorrhagic Fevers: Neglected Tropical Diseases?’.PLoS neglected tropical diseases 6.6 (2012): 1546. Print.

[5] Smith-Spark, Laura. ‘Death Toll Passes 1,550 As Ebola Outbreak Accelerates, Officials Say’.CNN.N.p., 2014. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.

[6] Leitenberg, Milton. ‘Biological Weapons In The Twentieth Century: A Review And Analysis’. Critical reviews in microbiology 27.4 (2001): 267–320. Print.

[7] Carus, W. Seth.Bioterrorism and Biocrimes. Washington, D.C.: Center for Counterproliferation Research, National Defense University, 2001. Print.

[8] Leitenberg, Milton. ‘Biological Weapons In The Twentieth Century: A Review And Analysis’. Critical reviews in microbiology 27.4 (2001): 267–320. Print