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Big Bad Voodoo

Did Army cause anthrax outbreak in mill?

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Big Bad Voodoo

From 1948-1956 there had been 63 cases of cutaneous anthrax at the Arms Mill, a then-common occurrence among workers handling animal products. During the 19th century, anthrax was called the “woolsorters disease” and, according to medical literature, about 30 percent of those workers stricken with inhalation anthrax recovered. During the Arms outbreak, only 313 of the mill’s 632 employees received the actual test vaccine. None of the five Arms employees who contracted inhalation anthrax (one did not die) were vaccinated as part of the tests because two received the placebo instead and the remaining three, for reasons not clearly stated, did not participate in the tests.


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