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
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
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
- COMPILED BY BOSTON.COM STAFF