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Even though the possession and use of chemical weapons have been banned under international law, some states and terrorist organizations continue to pursue their development. Nerve agents such as Tabun, Sarin, and VX are of particular concern, because they are capable of exerting severe and often rapidly lethal effects upon exposure. An in-depth understanding of the threat of chemical weapons and how to mitigate the consequences of an attack is clearly needed by those engaged in emergency preparedness and biodefense. This seminar will review the development and use of chemical weapons from World War I to the present, with an emphasis on the nerve agents, and will include a discussion of the clinical course, medical countermeasures, and decontamination requirements in the event of a release.