The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

CDC: Dozens of workers getting antibiotics, vaccines after potential exposure to lab anthrax

  • Print

At least 52 workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are taking antibiotics as a precaution because of a lab safety problem that may have accidentally exposed them to anthrax.

The federal agency on Friday raised its estimate of potentially affected workers from 75 to 86, and said the number could rise again as additional workers such as janitors and support staff come forward.

So far, the CDC's occupational health clinic has seen 54 out of 86 potentially exposed employees. Only two have refused antibiotic treatment, which can cut the chances of infection after exposure to the germ. The CDC says 27 of them also began receiving an anthrax vaccine. The others declined or are still considering the vaccine.

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.

Top managers at the CDC held a staff meeting Friday morning attended by hundreds of workers, some of whom felt the agency should have communicated with them more fully, Skinner said.

"That's something that management took to heart," and CDC is making every effort to find and notify anyone who may have been exposed, he said.

Anthrax created fear in 2001, when five people died and 17 others were sickened from letters containing anthrax spores sent through the mail. The FBI blames the attacks on a lone government scientist, Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide.

___

Online:

CDC anthrax: http://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Ruth Bonneville Winnipeg Free Press January 18, 2011 Local Standup -

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should political leaders be highly visible on the frontlines of flood fights and other natural disasters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google