As many as 75 scientists exposed to anthrax bacteria, CDC says


A photomicrograph of anthrax bacteria. Image by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday that as many as 75 scientists may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria. While nobody is actually infected, they’re being offered treatment.

Investigators are assuming that the exposure happened when the researchers working in a high-level biosecurity lab at the CDC failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. Live anthrax was then transferred to a lower-security CDC lab where workers were not wearing adequate protective gear, thinking the samples were inactive.

CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said that the risk of infection is “very low” in this particular situation. However, he included that “out of an abundance of caution, CDC is taking aggressive steps to protect the health of all involved, including protective courses of antibiotics for potentially exposed staff.”

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