University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Bioterrorism has become a greater concern for Americans since the 2001 anthrax letters. Recent studies have explored the possibilities of biological attacks, and most deal with possible large-scale attacks. However, there is reason to believe that small-scale attacks are more likely. Even though there have been investigations of the postal delivery system and the spread of bioagents through mail, few if any studies have looked at attack on a single building and the resultant spread form room to room. One particular method of attacking a building would be a single-even release of an aerosol bioagent in the building. This paper describes the development of a method for studying the spread of an aerosol throughout a building in order to determine what factors most affect the time between release and the lethal exposure of an occupant in various locations. A multi-zone airflow model, CONTAM, was used to simulate and compare the effects of the air handling system operation door position, building level, predominant wind direction and other factors. It was found that the air handling system, building floor level, and door position changed the exposure ties ranged from 5 seconds to nearly 15 minutes, and the air handling system was found to have the greatest effect on a contaminant’s spread through a building.