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Anthrax - Referat


Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis and is highly lethal in ist most virulent form. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic herbivores, but it can also occure in humans when they are exposed to infected animals, tissue from infected animals, or high concentrations of anthrax spores.
Anthrax can be found globally. It is more common in developing countries or countries without veterinary public health programms. Certain regions of the world (South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East) report more anthrax animals than others.
There are three varieties of getting infected:

Inhaling the bacteria, about 10.000 – 20.000 spores are needed to be lethal (deadly). The mortality rate by this infection is nearly 100%.

Infection through eating the bacteria, untreated, indestinal infection results in a 25 – 60% death rate.

Infections through the skin, unlike to the others, it is not painfuland it’s morality rate is just about 20%, if it is not treated.

Anthrax material is usually brown, but a sophisticated lab can change it in a fine white powder.
It can be used as a deadly biological weapon.
Britain tested anthrax spores in the early 40’s on a Scottish island, making it unusable for 48 years
In September 2001, seven days after the 9/11 terror attacks, anthrax occures over a period of several weeks in the US.
It started with a contaminated letter which was sent on 18th September, exactly one week after 9/11.
Five letters are believed to have been mailedat this time, toABC News, CBS News, NBC News, New York Post and to American Media Inc.
The letters attached to the spores contained sentences like „We do have this now. You die now“, ending with „Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great“.

The second mail attack were dated 9th October, three weeks after the first mailing. The letters were addressed to two Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont. These letters contained the weaponized sort of Anthrax, pure spores. Twenty-two people developed anthrax infections, eleven of the life-threatening inhalation vaiety. Five died of inhalations anthrax. A whole mail facility was contaminated when the Daschleletter passed through sorting machines, despite the fact that the envelope was sealed with tape.
Thousands of people took a two-month course of the antibiotic Cipro in an effortto pre-empt anthrax infections.
Although this case happened more than 3 ˝ years ago,
there is still no official suspect named. It is quite interesting that the letters that were mailed contained at least two different grades of anthrax material. However, all of the anthrax was the same strain. Known as the Ames strain, it was first researched at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectiouse Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Ames strain was then distributed to at least fifteen bio-research labs within the US and six overseas.
Radiocarbon dating conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in June 2002 established that anthrax was cultured no more than two years before the mailings.

In August 2002, investigators found traces of anthrax in a Princeton, New Jersey city street mailbox, which was likely used to mail some or all of the letters. The mailbox was located at 10 Nassau Street, which adjoins the Princeton University campus.
There was a return address on every of the letters, but it was fictitious.

Dozen of buildings were contaminated with anthrax as a result of the mailings. American Medi Inc. Moved to a different building. The decontamination of the Brentwood postal facility took 26 months and cost $ 130 million. The Hamilton, NJ postal facility remained closed until March 2005; ist cleanup cost $ 65 million. The Environmental Protection Agency spent $ 27 million to clean up government buildings in Washington, D.C.
The principle means of decontamination is fumigation with chlorine dioxide gas.

A major political effect was that the US Government raised the funding for biological warfare research and preparedness.

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