Purchasing Anthrax spores

Was it very difficult to purchase Anthrax spores before the 9/11/01 horrific attack? Was it available to just anyone who had the money to buy it?

To buy anthrax in the U.S., you needed to be a certified laboratory by the Government. You just couldn’t walk down the street to the local anthrax store. Agricultural labs do have legitimate needs to purchase strains of it for research purposes.

It wouldn’t be very good if all of our cattle came down with anthrax either.

The USSR, back when they were starting their biowarfare program, simply ordered anthrax from a US science mailorder catalog.

how can you be stupid enough to think you can just buy it in a shop. ffs.

Strains of anthrax bacteria have been available to legitimate research institutions and laboratories. In fact, the wild strains of anthrax bacillus can be easily harvested from soil and livestock. The spores, however, are not readily available, and the spores are what are used in bio-warfare.

Given that there’s been an epidemic of anthrax amongst deer and bison herds over the Northern summer, acquiring spores wouldn’t have been quite as difficult as a lot of people seem to think. Anthrax spores are notoriously persistent and outbreaks of anthrax amongst herds of wild animals provide a fairly simple and low-cost method of obtaining the bacteria.

Isn’t one of the reasons we in the West have extraordinarily strict laws relating to the slaughter and disposal of animals infected with anthrax because during the haemorraghic phase of the disease, the blood they are losing is spreading the spores?

I’m pretty sure there is not a “haemorrhaghic phase” of anthrax infection.

From the US Department of Agriculture fact sheet on anthrax :

AFAIK, inhalation anthrax in livestock is fairly rare - the most common form of anthrax in livestock is gastrointestinal.

There does, however, seem to be evidence of an haemorraghic phase in some cases of human infection too :

(from Emergency.com)

I got a depressingly high number of hits when I put +anthrax +symptoms +hemorrhage into google, but managed to bypass many of the sites dealing primarily with the risk of inhalation anthrax and get much more relevant information in terms of the agricultural disease.

General Questions is not the forum for accusing your fellow posters of stupidity. Don’t make that mistake again.

moderator GQ

As far as I know Anthrax is not a ‘hemmoragic’ type of bacteria. Ebola, Marburg, Lassa those are hemmoragic fevers that cause the body to bleed out though the virus multiplying and destroying internal organs (it’s really scarry stuff). Anthrax is a NOT a virus it is a bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics where as the above mentioned are viruses and only the symptoms can be treated to provide comfort to the infected but like the cold and flu virus you have to let it simply “run it’s course”.


What are the symptoms of anthrax?
Symptoms of disease vary depending on how the disease was contracted, but symptoms usually occur within seven days.

Cutaneous: Most anthrax infections occur when the bacterium enters a cut or abrasion on the skin, such as when handling contaminated wool, hides, leather or hair products (especially goat hair) of infected animals. Skin infection begins as a raised itchy bump that resembles an insect bite but within 1-2 days develops into a vesicle and then a painless ulcer, usually 1-3 cm in diameter, with a characteristic black necrotic (dying) area in the center. Lymph glands in the adjacent area may swell. About 20% of untreated cases of cutaneous anthrax will result in death. Deaths are rare with appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

Inhalation: Initial symptoms may resemble a common cold. After several days, the symptoms may progress to severe breathing problems and shock. Inhalation anthrax usually results in death in 1-2 days after onset of the acute symptoms.

Intestinal: The intestinal disease form of anthrax may follow the consumption of contaminated meat and is characterized by an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Intestinal anthrax results in death in 25% to 60% of cases.

Hear that knocking on the door… it’s the FBI and they want to ask you a few questions