Anthrax | St. Louis Public Radio


Anthrax vaccine doses ready to be given to emergency responders are stored at Washington University.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

Emergency responders in St. Louis are among the first to receive the anthrax vaccine as part of a federal program to inoculate local personnel.

Health officials from Washington University and local health departments have begun giving the vaccine to first responders who volunteer as part of a federal program testing the distribution of the shots to emergency personnel.

Anthrax is a disease contracted when a person consumes or inhales deadly spores of anthrax bacteria. When modified to a powdered form in a lab, anthrax can be distributed through the air by terrorists.

Anthrax case closed, circumstantial evidence strong

Oct 10, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 10, 2011 - WASHINGTON - The scenes could have come from a forensic detective TV show: investigators growing deadly cultures in guarded Petri dishes; German shepherds sniffing for evidence in a suspect's apartment; an entire lake drained for a futile search; a library of psychiatric profiles; and a suspicious flask called RMR-1029.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 10, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Moon-suited investigators swab for spores in vacated suites of a U.S. Senate building. A Florida photographer, two postal workers in the nation's capital, and two women in the Northeast perish from inhalation anthrax. Speculation about the origins of the deadly pathogen leads to "white powder scares" across the country.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kyle Steckler)

Soon after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, letters laced with anthrax started appearing in the U.S. mail, killing five people and sickening 17 others.

The incidents triggered a surge in research dedicated to preventing future bioterrorism attacks.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with Washington University virologist David Wang about his research on emerging infectious diseases, and how his work is helping to combat bioterrorism.