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Up to 75 employees at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta may have been accidentally exposed to live anthrax, an infectious disease, officials said.
The CDC announced on Thursday that the federal agency was keeping a close eye on 75 employees who may have been accidentally exposed to anthrax on June 13. The level of risk to the public was categorized as very low and the employees were provided antibiotics.
Investigators determined that the anthrax bacteria samples were not completely inactivated before being used for experimentation. The researchers, thinking the samples were inactive, did not put on the proper protective gear.
Leonard Cole, a bioterrorism expert, said that in the worst cases, “if you’ve inhaled [anthrax] spores and if they are very lethal, one begins to get—as they say—the standard flu symptoms, high fever, malaise,” reports CNN.
The CDC assures the public that the issue will be further examined, and that the agency plans on re-examining lab safety procedures to ensure an incident like this doesn't happen again.