State and federal health officials are looking into a suspected case of naturally occurring anthrax poisoning. The unidentified patient is being treated in a Minnesota hospital.
All evidence points to natural environmental exposure, said state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield. But because anthrax can be used for bioterrorism, the FBI was briefly involved in the investigation.
The infected person recently returned to Minnesota after traveling to Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Investigators are looking into whether the individual came into contact with hides or other parts of hooved animals that can contain anthrax spores. "We're also trying to ascertain was there something about this person that made them higher risk for getting this infection, because it is such a rare infection," Lynfield said.
Health officials stressed that the case does not represent an increased risk of anthrax to the public. Anthrax is not spread from person to person.