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CDC Lab Workers Possibly Exposed to Anthrax

Tina Robinson2 years ago

Researchers and staff members at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs in Atlanta may have been exposed to deadly anthrax bacteria, according to Newsday.

About the Possible Anthrax Exposure

According to the CDC, the exposure was first detected on June 13. Scientists found live bacteria on slides, and the labs were closed for testing and decontamination. Two of three labs tested were found to have possible aerosolized the anthrax spores. The CDC stated the exposure occurred as workers prepared inactive samples of the bacteria to be transferred to lower-security labs not equipped to handle live samples.

As many as 75 people have been identified as possible exposure risks and are being offered a 60-day treatment of ciprofloxacin and an injection of anthrax vaccine. The CDC said no workers have exhibited symptoms.

Exactly how the exposure occurred is under investigation by the FBI and CDC.

About Anthrax Bacteria

Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) infections can occur through cuts, inhalation, or consumption of tainted meat. The incubation period is normally five to seven days but has been documented up to 60 days after exposure. Newsday notes the biggest threat is inhalation. Once spores enter the lungs and germinate, they release toxins that can cause “internal bleeding, swelling and tissue death.”

Symptoms of anthrax inhalation occur in two stages. Initially, symptoms resemble a cold. Later on, anthrax causes “fever, severe shortness of breath and shock.” Unfortunately, about 90 percent of people who present symptoms of second-stage anthrax inhalation die. 

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