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CDC Employees accidently exposed to anthrax

It is the responsibility of an employer in Essex County, Massachusetts to provide a safe work environment for employees. This includes minimizing risks to workers’ physical and mental health and taking necessary steps to properly train employees regarding specific safety guidelines. When an accident occurs on the job, the employer may be held responsible. This even applies to workers who are employed at jobs that may be considered high risk.

Workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may have been exposed to anthrax, a potentially lethal bacterium. Apparently one of the labs did not properly inactivate samples of anthrax before they were taken to three different laboratories. These labs were not suited to handle active anthrax in a safe way and lab workers did not wear protective equipment when they handled the samples because they believed the anthrax was inactive. It is believed that the anthrax could have been aerosolized in two of the three labs, affecting workers in both the labs and hallways.

It is believed that up to 86 workers could have been exposed to the deadly bacteria. Many of those who were exposed are taking antibiotics and 27 employees have been given the vaccine for anthrax.

Although the CDC released a statement saying that the risk of employees becoming infected with anthrax is very low, those who were possibly exposed to the bacteria would be well advised to be under a doctor’s care. If they do contract the disease or have issues as a result of the exposure, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Source: CNN, “CDC: Up to 86 workers possibly exposed to anthrax,” Dana Ford, June 23, 2014

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