A veterinary clinic worker at Tulane University might have been exposed to bacteria that can be used for bioterrorism and that a nearby research laboratory failed to contain, a federal official confirmed Wednesday night.
An initial test showed that the worker at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana had antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei, said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the worker is not ill, McDonald said, and the presence of antibodies just means the immune system has built up a defense against the bacteria. Furthermore, the test result may be a false positive, he said, and even if antibodies are confirmed, the worker’s exposure to the bacteria might have occurred long ago and elsewhere.
Nor is there any evidence that the public is in danger. “There’s nothing to indicate to us that the general public is at any significant risk,” McDonald cautioned.
Regardless of whether this worker was exposed, the bacteria did get out of a lab at the primate research center, the CDC said. (Read more from “Tulane Worker May Have Been Exposed to Bacteria on Bioweapons List” HERE)