America

CDC Says More Workers Potentially Exposed To Live Anthrax

U.S. authorities increased to 86 people the number of CDC workers potentially exposed to live anthrax at three laboratories in Atlanta, with at least 52 of them taking antibiotics as a precaution.

The number who may have been infected is an increase from the 75 workers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged on Thursday.

The Associated Press says:

"The safety lapse was discovered last Friday and CDC revealed it on Thursday. It occurred when a high-level biosecurity lab failed to completely inactivate anthrax samples sent to three less secure labs that were researching new ways to detect the germs in environmental samples.

"Workers in the less secure labs were not wearing adequate protective gear because they believed the samples had been inactivated. Procedures in two of the labs may have spread anthrax spores in the air. Anthrax is particularly dangerous when inhaled.

"Live bacteria were discovered last Friday on materials gathered for disposal, and the CDC began sending emails to potentially affected employees that day, said agency spokesman Tom Skinner."

Reuters reports that the CDC has said it will cede an investigation into the safety lapse to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: