CDC: 75 Atlanta workers may have been exposed to anthrax

ATLANTA -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 75 Atlanta-based staff could have been exposed to anthrax after safety practices weren't followed.

According to a CDC statement, a Roybal campus biosafety lab preparing Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) samples for research "did not adequately inactivate the samples." The samples were moved and used in three labs not equipped to handle live anthrax, the CDC says. Workers, under the belief that the samples were inactivated, weren't wearing adequate protection while handling the anthrax.

Investigators also determined that procedures used in two of the three labs may have aerosolized the spores. Lab and hallway areas were decontaminated and labs will be reopened when it's determined they are safe.

The potential exposure was discovered on June 13 when anthrax was found on bacterial plates that were being gathered for disposal.

The CDC says it's taking aggressive steps to protect the health of those who were potentially exposed to the anthrax. The risk of infection is low, according to the CDC. Investigators say that other CDC staff, family members and the general public aren't at risk of exposure and no protective action is needed.


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