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3,500 years of anthrax. (Chart-Reading Skills).

Anthrax is currently headline news, but there's nothing new about the deadly disease. Anthrax has plagued the world--killing humans and animals--for thousands of years. For much of that time, anthrax was called "woolsorter's disease" because anthrax spores clung to sheep wool and infected people who worked with wool. Study the time line below to trace anthrax through the ages.
1500 B.C.. According to the Old Testament, the "plague of boils"
 --possibly anthrax--devastates Egyptian livestock.

1600s A.D. The "Black Bane," now thought to have been anthrax, kills
 60,000 cattle in Europe.

1876 Using his microscope, Dr. Robert Koch identifies the
 microorganism that causes anthrax: Bacillus anthracis.

1881 Louis Pasteur develops an anthrax vaccine for livestock.

1915 German agents allegedly inject American horses and cattle
 with anthrax during World War I.

1942 After experimenting with anthrax on Gruinard Island, off
 Scotland, the British government bans humans from setting
 foot on the island's soil for 50 years.

1943 U.S. begins developing anthrax weapons.

1971 Human anthrax vaccine introduced. It helps prevent the
 disease from infecting people who work with livestock.

1972 The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, an
 international treaty, takes ambitious steps to ban both
 biological and chemical weapons.

1979 Aerosolized anthrax spores accidentally released from an
 ultra-secret research facility in the Soviet Union kill
 60 to 100 people downwind from the plant.

1990-1993 Japanese Cult Aum Shinrikyo releases anthrax spores in
 Tokyo. Luckily, the tactic fails and no one falls ill.

2001 After anthrax-laced letters cause several infections,
 officials warn panic-stricken Americans not to take Cipro
 or other antibiotics "just in case."

2001 Harvard University researchers announce that they've
 found a way to block the effects of deadly toxins
 produced by the anthrax bacteria.


Use the time line and the article "Anthrax: Facts, not Fears" (p. 4) to answer the questions below. Write your answers in complete sentences.

1. What is the scientific name of the anthrax bacteria? Who first identified it? When?

2. How do you think people died after anthrax spores accidentally escaped from a secret research facility?

3. After the cult Aum Shinrikyo released anthrax spores, what symptoms would doctors have looked for to tell if people had been infected?

4. Based on what you know about anthrax spores, explain why authorities banned humans from Gruinard Island for 50 years?

5. What can happen to bacteria when people who aren't sick take antibiotics just in case?
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Title Annotation:important dates in the history of anthrax research
Publication:Science World
Date:Nov 26, 2001
Words:402
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