No CDC lab workers seem sickened by anthrax - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

No CDC lab workers seem sickened by anthrax

© iStockphoto.com / Andreas Reh © iStockphoto.com / Andreas Reh

TUESDAY, July 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- None of the dozens of staffers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta potentially exposed to anthrax last month has gotten sick, agency officials reported Monday.

The CDC said staffers at three of its laboratories had been provided antibiotics "out of an abundance of caution" following a breakdown in safety procedures, the Associated Press reported.

Agency officials said anthrax spores haven't been detected on surfaces in the labs and it's not clear that any anthrax was released into the air, the AP said.

Initial reports indicated that one of the CDC's higher level biosafety labs in Atlanta was preparing the anthrax samples for research in lower level labs. The higher level lab did not adequately inactivate the samples before sending them to the other labs, which aren't equipped to handle live anthrax samples. Workers at the lower level labs, believing the samples were inactivated, weren't wearing proper protective equipment while handling them, the agency said.

The potential exposures were discovered June 13, the CDC said.

The CDC said an internal review of the mishap is expected later this week.

According to the National Institutes of Health, anthrax is actually a disease caused by a germ -- bacillus anthracis -- that lives in soil. Anthrax is rare, though potentially fatal, and typically affects animals, like cattle, sheep, and goats, more often than people. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wood, meat or hides.

It can cause three forms of disease in people:

  • Cutaneous, which affects the skin. People with cuts or open sores can get it if they touch the bacteria.
  • Inhalation, which affects the lungs. People can get this from breathing in spores of the bacteria.
  • Gastrointestinal, which affects the digestive system. People can get it by eating infected meat.

Antibiotics can cure anthrax if it's diagnosed early. But many people don't know they have anthrax until it's too late for treatment. A vaccine to prevent anthrax is available for people in the military and others at high risk, according to the NIH.

Anthrax made headlines in 2001 during bioterror attacks when someone purposely spread anthrax through the U.S. mail system, killing five people and sickening 22.

More information

To learn more about anthrax, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Health WatchMore>>

  • House approves VA health care overhaul

    House approves VA health care overhaul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:12:40 GMT
    With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is moving quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care.
    The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to help veterans avoid long waits for health care that have plagued the Veterans Affairs Department for years.
  • $1,000 Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice

    $1,000 Sovaldi now hepatitis treatment of choice

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 8:58 PM EDT2014-07-31 00:58:45 GMT
    A $1,000-per-pill drug that insurers are reluctant to pay for has quickly become the treatment of choice for a liver-wasting viral disease that affects more than 3 million Americans.
    The price is sky-high, but so is demand. A new $1,000-per-pill drug has become the treatment of choice for Americans with hepatitis C, a liver-wasting disease that affects more than 3 million.
  • Deportations halted at New Mexico processing center

    Deportations halted at New Mexico processing center

    Deportations halted at New Mexico processing center

    Artesia, NM - Officials at an immigration processing center in new mexico announced they will be halting all deportations for the time being.
    Artesia, NM - Officials at an immigration processing center in new mexico announced they will be halting all deportations for the time being.
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.