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US says 75 government scientists possibly exposed to anthrax

By Julie Steenhuysen

(Reuters) - As many as 75 scientists working in U.S. federal government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria and are being offered treatment to prevent infection, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

The potential exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency's Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. They then transferred the samples, which may have contained live bacteria, to lower-security CDC labs not equipped to handle live anthrax.

Dr Paul Meechan, director of the environmental health and safety compliance office at the CDC, said the agency discovered the potential exposure on the evening of Friday, June 13, and immediately began contacting individuals working in the labs who may have unknowingly handled live anthrax bacteria.

Up To 75 CDC Workers Accidentally Exposed To Anthrax

"No employee has shown any symptoms of anthrax illness," Meechan told Reuters.

Meechan said the normal incubation period can take up to five to seven days, though there are documented cases of the illness occurring some 60 days after exposure.

Meechan said as many as seven researchers may have come into direct contact with the live anthrax. But the agency is casting as wide a net as possible to make sure all employees at the agency who may have walked into any of the labs at risk are being offered treatment.

Around 75 individuals are being offered a 60-day course of treatment with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin as well as an injection with an anthrax vaccine.

Meechan said it is too early to determine whether the transfer was accidental or intentional. He said that all employees who were doing procedures to inactivate the bacteria were working in a biosecurity laboratory and were "tier one select agent approved," meaning they had undergone a security reliability review and deemed to be "stable, trustworthy individuals."

Meechan said the CDC is conducting an internal investigation to discover how the exposure occurred and said disciplinary measures would be taken if warranted.

"This should not have happened," he said. For those exposed, he said, "We're taking care of it. We will not let our people be at risk."

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Michele Gershberg, James Dalgleish and Eric Walsh)

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SumBreezeHuh June 19 2014 at 5:56 PM

Freaking idiots. It won't be a nuke or asteroids or global warming that kills us... it will be some dumbass dropping a vial of WBD - weapons of biological destruction.

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1 reply
raidersetc SumBreezeHuh June 20 2014 at 3:38 AM

According to my brother ,(who is a bio physicist at the US Lab in Los Alamos ), terrorists will soon be able to introduce a mutating virus with a 99% mortality rate.

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2 replies
ritteralvarez raidersetc June 20 2014 at 9:42 AM

well one thing about biological weapons he forgot to tell you about, once you set it lose you have no way to fully contain it so you eventual risks infection yourself as well as your own people

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setanta54s_back raidersetc June 20 2014 at 10:53 AM

no need for any mutating virus--no more smallpox innoculations going on,no more DDT usage either,so dump malaria infested mosquitos etc etc.
WEST NILE originated in the USA right behind the UN--search it.
GATES dumps infested ,adapted mosquitos the same and NO PROBLEMS here the same.

and ANYONE THINKING that THIS gubmint would retaliate needs to really WAKE UP.

the borders are overrun have been LEFT WIDE OPEN FOR YEARS - and NOW with these alleged CHILDREN along with the USUAL NUMBERS "other than mexican".
and these CHILDREN are the same as every other law breaking illegal entrant--they bring DISEASES IN with them.
our veterans CANNOT GET CARE but these illegals ARE.
People CANNOT GET LEGAL ASSISTANCE when their rights are violated as in CPS and probate THEFT of family membrs BUT THESE ILLEGALS ARE GETTING LEGAL AID-

basic things are unattended to DELIBERATELY.

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LorinThePhotographer June 19 2014 at 6:24 PM

Shocking... another government agency with a major disaster. And we are to blindly suck in and believe all that they tell us

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1 reply
navalphoto LorinThePhotographer June 19 2014 at 7:40 PM

And now this same government want to control our health care.

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3 replies
gnobie01 June 19 2014 at 5:30 PM

irresponsible...what would have happened if the bacteria had gotton to the public?

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1 reply
Viper1ex19 gnobie01 June 19 2014 at 7:46 PM

Whose to say it didn't?
Do you really think they would take responsibility for it if it did?

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2 replies
chessgms2 Viper1ex19 June 20 2014 at 8:29 AM

The bacteria is already out there, it exists naturally in the environment........especially around hoofed animals. (The bacteria can sporify and contaminate soil for years where infected animals have grazed). Provided they figure out what you're sick with, on the outside chance you contract anthrax, it's easily cured.
Now, WEAPONIZED antrax is another matter, but the stuff the CDC screwed up with was just garden variety bacteria. The chances of an epidemic starting from this are pretty much nil.
And, it DOES seem the Government IS taking responsibility for this, since we're discussing the subject after the Goverhment owned up to the mistake.
By the way, it's not just the Government. There is a strain of Ebola named after a Virginia city (E. Reston) where a PRIVATE medical lab had an uncontrolled Ebola outbreak some years back. So the Private Sector does this too. It's called Screwing Up, and humans are pretty adept at it.

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ritteralvarez Viper1ex19 June 20 2014 at 9:45 AM

thanks chessgms for calming the Chicken Littles

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lnl80388 June 19 2014 at 5:19 PM

Just another sign of how inept our government has become under this administration.

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1 reply
sylvabugg2 lnl80388 June 19 2014 at 11:11 PM

Oh it's gets worse. There's actually a vaccine against Anthrax. In fact if you join the military you are given the vaccination. Why then, weren't government employees given the same vaccine, knowing they would be working around it? Just boggles the mind.

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1 reply
hellyon3too sylvabugg2 June 20 2014 at 11:24 AM

I was thinking the same thing. People who work with rabies virus are required to be vaccinated. Wildlife rehab workers have to be vaccinated against rabies, too. Many veterinarians offer rabies vaccination to their employees. Why are the people working with anthrax not vaccinated?

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albatroll June 19 2014 at 6:20 PM

Anyone fired?

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2 replies
Viper1ex19 albatroll June 19 2014 at 8:08 PM

Not on Obamas watch

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setanta54s_back albatroll June 20 2014 at 10:56 AM

most likely received a promotion.
this IS our gubmint at work....and this accident has made more jobs open or increased their pay,therefore assisting the economy on and on.

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leslie June 20 2014 at 9:06 AM

Sounds like this experiment is going about as well as the experimental president you nuts put in the white house!

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bailey.willie June 19 2014 at 6:19 PM


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3 replies
ozalot June 20 2014 at 10:01 AM

They want to wipe us out (the Obama cults)....then he can take over.

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palidyn June 19 2014 at 5:21 PM

ya we r all dead!!!

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100 DOLLAR BILLS June 20 2014 at 8:49 AM

hmmmmm looks like the work of the mason jars

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