6 Family Members Treated For Anthrax


Friday, September 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Six members of a Minnesota farm family are being treated after eating meat from a cow that had anthrax, health officials said.

The Minnesota Department of Health didn't provide information on their conditions, but said Thursday that two developed symptoms of gastrointenstinal anthrax. Anthrax usually infects the skin, but can affect the digestive tract and respiratory system.

``There's never been a case of gastrointestinal anthrax reported in the United States,'' said Richard Danila, assistant state epidemiologist. ``This was a very unique set of circumstances that happened whereby a family of six consumed meat found to be heavily contaminated with anthrax.''

They raised the cow on their own farm and had it processed at a small custom slaughterhouse. Regulators don't inspect meat in such cases because it was for the family's own use.

The health department said the general public isn't at risk because animals processed for commercial sale are inspected.

Cattle catch the disease by ingesting spores from the anthrax bacteria, but humans rarely become infected. If inhaled, anthrax can be deadly in humans.

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On the Net:

Minnesota Department of Health http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/news.html