Lethality

Lethality

[lee-thuhl]
Lethality is a term designating the ability of a weapon to kill. Most often this term is used when referring to chemical weapons, biological weapons, or their chemical components. The use of this term denotes the ability of these weapons to kill, but also the possibility that they may not kill. Reasons for the lethality of a weapon to be inconsistent, or expressed by percentage, can be as varied as minimized exposure to the weapon, previous exposure to the weapon minimizing susceptibility, degradation of the weapon over time and/or distance, and incorrect deployment of a multi-component weapon.

This term can also refer to the after-effects of weapon use, such as Nuclear Fallout, which has highest lethality nearest the deployment site, and in proportion to the subject's size and nature; e.g. a child or small animal.

Lethality is also a term used by microbiologists and food scientists as a measure of the ability of a process to destroy bacteria. Lethality may be determined by enumeration of survivors after incremental exposures.

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