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article image75 lab workers at the CDC may be infected with anthrax

By Anne Sewell     Jun 20, 2014 in Health
Atlanta - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Thursday that around 75 lab workers in Atlanta may have been infected with anthrax. An investigation into the incident is apparently ongoing.
The workers affected are reportedly bio-terrorism researchers and apparently the unintentional exposure was discovered on June 13.
Dr Paul Meechan, director of the environmental health and safety compliance office at the CDC, said the agency immediately began contacting lab workers who may have unknowingly handled the live anthrax bacteria. According to Meechan, "No employee has shown any symptoms of anthrax illness." However, he added that the normal incubation period can take up to five to seven days, and there are documented cases of patients suffering the illness some 60 days after exposure.
A statement from the government agency said, "Given that CDC expert protocols were not followed, disciplinary action(s) will be taken as necessary."
Apparently “out of an abundance of caution” the CDC is treating the potentially exposed lab workers with antibiotics, but the agency says it does not believe either family members or the general public are at any risk.
While the CDC said that the investigation is still ongoing, early reports state that “CDC expert protocols were not followed” and that a sample of anthrax used in a high-level bio-safety lab had not been properly inactivated before being moved to labs which were not equipped for the handling of live anthrax.
Reportedly all lab and hallway areas have undergone decontamination and will only be re-opened once they are determined to be safe.
The CDC website gives more information about anthrax and the risks involved.
More about CDC, Anthrax, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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