86 Potential Anthrax Exposures Identified As Count Continues To Go Up

Brian Stallard | Nature World News | June 21, 2014

Eleven more federal employees in the United States have come forward as people who were potentially exposed to an accidental anthrax outbreak after mishandling live samples in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab.  On Thursday, the CDC reported the first 75 cases of potential exposure, revealing that these scientists were being monitored very closely for potential signs of the dangerous bacterial infection.

"Out of an abundance of caution, CDC is taking aggressive steps to protect the health of all involved, including providing protective courses of antibiotics for potentially exposed staff," the CDC reported in its initial release.  An ongoing investigation of potential exposure scenarios has determined that risk of infection is very low. Likewise, the chances that the disease found its way out of the lab via one of the exposed is so low that "the general public are not at risk of exposure and do not need to take any protective action"

The CDC reports that the unintentional exposure of several dozen scientists working at a CDC lab in Atlanta was discovered on June 13, and could have occurred sometime within the week prior to discovery. An investigation has revealed that the exposure first occurred after a live strain of sample anthrax was not properly deactivated and then handled by staff under the assumption that it had been...