WASHINGTON (WNEW) — Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists may use “carriers” to spread the Ebola virus as part of a low-tech biological terror tactic, according to national security and health experts.
Capt. Al Shimkus, a retired professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, told Forbes that ISIS/ISIL fanatics may infect themselves with the Ebola virus to use it as a suicide bio-weapon against the West. Shimkus says that the Islamic State terrorists wouldn’t even have to “isolate” the virus, but instead could send a few operatives into an Ebola outbreak region and intentionally expose themselves to the rampant virus.
“The individual exposed to the Ebola virus would be the carrier,” Shimkus told Forbes. “In the context of terrorist activity, it doesn’t take much sophistication to go to that next step to use a human being as a carrier.”
Several experts say this is a “plausible theory,” because ISIS fighters could contract the virus and then openly travel to Western countries to spread Ebola as part of a suicide mission. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, or even bedding and clothing that has been “contaminated” with these fluids.
According to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), the average fatality rate from Ebola, hemorrhagic fever, is 50 percent. Without treatment, that statistic is elevated to as high as 90 percent. The virus has claimed more than 3,800 lives in West Africa as cases have begun emerging in Europe and the United States.
“In some ways it’s a plausible theory – IS fighters believe in suicide and this is a potential job for a suicide mission,” Professor Anthony Glees, the Director at Buckingham University’s Center for Security and Intelligence Studies, told Forbes. “They are sufficiently murderous and well-informed to consider it, and they know that we’ve been remiss in the UK.”
In May 2013, Amanda Teckman, author of the paper “The Bioterrorist Threat of Ebola in East Africa and Implications For Global Health and Security,” wrote that “The threat of an Ebola bioterrorist attack in East Africa is a global health and security concern, and should not be ignored.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., told Fox News that “at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas.” He echoed August comments by Gen. Martin Dempsey that the U.S.’s open southern border posed an “immediate threat” to national security.
On Thursday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the Ebola outbreak is unlike anything he’s since the AIDS epidemic.
“I would say that in the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” Frieden said before the heads of the United Nations, World Bank and International Monetary Fund, according to AFP. “We have to work now so that it is not the world’s next AIDS.”