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Capitol Health Call
November 14, 2012

Anthrax Detection

JAMA. 2012;308(18):1849. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14658

The federal government's ability to detect Bacillus anthracis remains flawed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported September 11. The report comes 11 years after spores of B anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, were mailed to members of Congress and the media in a still-unsolved bioterror attack. A 2005 GAO report recommended that federal agencies validate environmental sampling methods for detecting B anthracis and conduct studies to develop probability-based sampling approaches for indoor environments. Such activities were to be completed by fiscal year 2013, but delays are now expected.

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