The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), as early as five months ago, was implicated at least in planning to use bioweapons to strike terror. You may remember last summer, an ISIS laptop was found in a former hideout, which had specific plans on weaponizing Yersinia pestis, or the plague.

Turkey Image/CIA

Now, Turkish officials via an intelligence report revealed plans by the Islamic terror group to attack Turkey water source with biological agents, according to Turkish media.

According to the report, the main biological threat is the bacterium, Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia or rabbit fever.

Today’s Zaman reports: The report states that it is very hard to diagnose the disease because its symptoms resemble those of many other diseases, and in the event of an ISIL attack on Turkey with this poison, many lives in Turkey might be lost because of late diagnosis. The report also states that ISIL plans to poison potable water supplies, water in reservoirs and other water sources.

Humans can become infected through several routes, including: Tick and deer fly bites, Skin contact with infected animals, Ingestion of contaminated water, Inhalation of contaminated aerosols or agricultural dusts and Laboratory exposure.

Symptoms of tularemia may include: Sudden fever, Chills, Headaches, Diarrhea, Muscle aches, Joint pain, Dry cough and Progressive weakness.

People can also develop pneumonia with chest pain, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was exposed to the tularemia bacteria. These symptoms can include ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Francisella tularensis is very infectious. A small number (10-50 or so organisms) can cause disease. If F. tularensis were used as a weapon, the bacteria would likely be made airborne for exposure by inhalation. People who inhale an infectious aerosol would generally experience severe respiratory illness, including life-threatening pneumonia and systemic infection, if they are not treated. The bacteria that cause tularemia occur widely in nature and could be isolated and grown in quantity in a laboratory, although manufacturing an effective aerosol weapon would require considerable sophistication.