The Anthrax Attack

Bio Terrorism

A 63-year-old businessman, Mr. Stevens has been hospitalized in Florida with pulmonary anthrax, a highly fatal disease mentioned as a possible biological weapon.

Anthrax has been developed by some countries as a possible biological weapon. But the disease can be contracted naturally; the bacterial spores can be found in soil and are often carried by livestock. Officials said the Florida victim is an avid outdoorsman.

Mr. Stevens, checked into a hospital on Tuesday and it was initially believed he had meningitis, Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan said. But X-rays and other testing showed that it was pulmonary anthrax. Mr. Stevens had confusion and vomiting and his condition quickly deteriorated.

In its respiratory form, the infection is treatable with penicillin in its early phases but without treatment it will progress to cause severe breathing difficulty and is fatal in most cases.

Brogan said the man had recently traveled to North Carolina and became ill. He died last week. On tracking the sources of Anthrax, officials said to have found the spores from his computer keyboard.

This incident has become a paramount concern when a second case was reported.

The second man to be infected with the potentially deadly anthrax bacteria is a former colleague of the man who died from the disease on Friday, health officials said. He has not developed any symptoms, but culture from his nose has tested positive for the bacteria.

The first case prompted fears of bioterrorism, as it was the first case of respiratory anthrax in the US since 1978.

Public health doctors say they still believe that both cases are naturally occurring. However, a senior law enforcement officer told the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity that it was very rare to have two people working in the same building who have inhaled anthrax bacteria.