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Anthrax scare

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What is anthrax?
An infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacteria bacillus anthracis, anthrax is most commonly found in agricultural regions where it can infect wild and domestic livestock. It is not contagious.
Read more about the disease

Use as a weapon
Anthrax is highly lethal, easy to store, and able to be survive for decades, making it a top candidate for use as a biological weapon. Given the right wind and weather conditions, it is possible to release a lethal cloud of colorless, odorless anthrax spores over a population center that would likely remain undetected until people began reporting symptoms.

Is there a vaccine?
Yes. Licensed in 1970 and produced by Michigan-based BioPort Corp., the United States began mandatory vaccination for all US active- and reserve-duty military personnel in 1998. Because of limited supplies and production capacity, however, the vaccine is not available for general civilian use.

Fear in the mail
Bills were once the thing everyone dreaded receiving in the mail. With anthrax turning up in letters at some of the nation's highest-profile offices — and people everywhere on edge — "You've got mail" has suddenly become a threat.
How to handle suspicious items



A common-sense guide to keeping safe
A special section from The Boston Globe.

Overview, types of anthrax
Answers to common questions
Don't panic, experts say

Anthrax as a weapon
Inside an anthrax attack
When anthrax is let loose
Diagnosing anthrax
Anthrax-fighting drugs
Cleaning up contamination
Other bioterror threats


How to deal with suspicious mail

What to look for
Letters sent to Daschle, NBC
See note sent with anthrax
Do postal guidelines help?


FBI's anthrax page:

Center for Disease Control:


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