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CDC Reassigns Director at Fault for Anthrax Scare

Update Date: Jun 23, 2014 09:12 AM EDT

This past week, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that as many as 84 staffers might have been exposed to live anthrax. Even though the situation has already been dealt with properly, the CDC announced that it is reassigning the director at fault for the anthrax scare.

As the agency continues to investigate the incident, it will reassign Michael Farrell, who was the head of the CDC's Bioterror Rapid Response and Advanced Technology laboratory. According to the officials, lab workers had transferred live Bacillus anthracis, which were supposed to be inactivated and properly stored in tubes, from the bioterror lab to two lower-security labs. The workers in the two lower-security labs handled the bacteria without any protective gear.

After discovering the presence of live bacteria, the CDC alerted it employees about their risk of exposure. The agency tallied up as many as 84 people who could have been infected. Despite alerting the immediate staffers, other members of the CDC were upset about receiving information regarding the anthrax scare at a later time. A special meeting was held for these employees.

"We waited too long to inform the broader CDC workforce," the director of the CDC, Dr. Thomas Frieden said according to Reuters UK.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection that affects the skin, gastrointestinal tract or lungs. There are two forms of anthrax, known as cutaneous anthrax and inhalation anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax is characterized by symptoms such as blisters, bumps and painless skin sores. Symptoms of inhalation anthrax are fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and more. Anthrax can be extremely fatal if it is left undetected and untreated.

All of the exposed CDC staffers have been treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

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