Web Zap*Germs Archive

October 18, 2005

Tularemia Released During DC Anti-War Protest?

It's reported that potentially dangerous tularemia bacteria were detected late last month in Washington, DC on the National Mall area, where thousands had gathered for a book festival and an anti-war rally. However, Department of Homeland Security officials didn't release this info for five days.

Apparently tularemia (rabbit fever) bacteria are considered a potential biological terror weapon, but the samples captured at the National Mall on September 24 by the BioWatch early-warning program did not meet the standards required to set off an immediate alert.

No cases of tularemia have been reported, but there's a dispute over why DHS didn't inform national and state health officials about the identified bacteria for several days.


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