- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2002

From combined dispatches
FREDERICK, Md. A worker at a bioterrorism laboratory at Fort Detrick has tested positive for exposure to anthrax spores, which were also detected in a hallway and an administrative room, the base announced yesterday.
The anthrax spores appeared to be contained to the area, based on negative test results from surrounding areas.
No cases of illness suggestive of anthrax exposure at the laboratory have been reported, and measures were being taken to assure the safety of the employees at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, according to a base press release.
Assessment of two laboratory personnel found that one tested positive for exposure to anthrax. Both employees had been immunized for anthrax and have begun precautionary antibiotic treatment, the statement said.
The testing was conducted after a scientist noticed a deposit on a flask in a laboratory where anthrax research is performed. Sampling was conducted outside the laboratory as a precaution.
A preliminary evaluation did not find any malfunction with the air-handling containment system. About 100 people were relocated as a result of the discovery, the statement said.
Steps taken include the medical evaluation of all employees who work in the affected area, who will be given antibiotics if necessary. Medical evaluation will be offered to all the employees of the institution, the statement said.
The institute is the Army's germ-warfare defense laboratory. Scientists there study the world's deadliest microbes, and develop vaccines and antidotes for soldiers who could encounter such pathogens naturally or as targets of biological weapons.
In recent months, FBI agents investigating the anthrax mailings that killed five persons have been a constant presence at the institute, tapping its expertise and questioning workers about a potential connection between the letters and the lab.
Anthrax has been found in many federal buildings throughout Washington since the September 11 attacks, including the Supreme Court, the State Department, the Hart Senate Office Building, the Health Department, the Treasury, the Food and Drug Administration and the Pentagon Post Office.
The FBI has investigated the mailings of letters containing anthrax spores but has made no arrests.
There have been more than 20 confirmed anthrax cases in the United States since the attacks in what President Bush initially called a second wave of terrorism.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide