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Environmental sampling for spores of Bacillus anthracis.
Teshale EH; Painter J; Burr GA; Mead P; Wright SV; Cseh LF; Zabrocki R; Collins R; Kelley KA; Hadler JL; Swerdlow DL
Emerg Infect Dis 2002 Oct; 8(10):1083-1087
On November 11, 2001, following the bioterrorism-related anthrax attacks, the U.S. Postal Service collected samples at the Southern Connecticut Processing and Distribution Center; all samples were negative for Bacillus anthracis. After a patient in Connecticut died from inhalational anthrax on November 19, the center was sampled again on November 21 and 25 by using dry and wet swabs. All samples were again negative for B. anthracis. On November 28, guided by information from epidemiologic investigation, we sampled the site extensively with wet wipes and surface vacuum sock samples (using HEPA vacuum). Of 212 samples, 6 (3%) were positive, including one from a highly contaminated sorter. Subsequently B. anthracis was also detected in mail-sorting bins used for the patient's carrier route. These results suggest cross-contaminated mail as a possible source of anthrax for the inhalational anthrax patient in Connecticut. In future such investigations, extensive sampling guided by epidemiologic data is imperative.
Environmental factors; Sampling; Sampling methods; Biohazards; Biological warfare agents; Biological weapons; Microorganisms
Issue of Publication
Emerging Infectious Diseases
GA; OH; CT
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division