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Biological agents are bacteria, viruses and toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops.

The threat of a biological attack results from the intentional release of germs or other biological agents. These biological agents, often invisible to the naked eye, can be inhaled, ingested or transferred through the skin and the results could be sickness or death.

Many biological agents, such as the smallpox virus, can also cause contagious diseases, which could be transferred from person to person.

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