[WORLD NEWS ★]
U.S. ANTHRAX SCARE WIDENS
(P1) More than 50 labs in 17 US states and three foreign countries have been mailed samples of live anthrax, Pentagon officials have said.
(P2) The announcement on Wednesday doubled the number of incidents in the U.S. A smaller number of shipments were revealed last week.
(P3) Staff members at some of the labs have been treated for anthrax exposure as a precaution, but no one has fallen ill.
(P4) The Pentagon has maintained there is no risk to the general public.
(P5) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading the investigation into the incidents.
(P6) US Defense official Robert Work told reporters that the number of affected laboratories is expected to rise.
(P7) Experts in biosafety have heavily criticized the lapse and called for improved PRECAUTIONS.
(P8) SYMPTOMS of anthrax exposure include skin ulcers, nausea, vomiting and fever, and can cause death if UNTREATED.
(P9) The military has ordered all of its labs that have previously received inactive anthrax samples to test them. In addition it is advising all labs to cease working with these samples until told otherwise.
(P10) Pentagon officials say there was no sign the live samples were sent due to any deliberate action.
(P11) The samples were mailed from a Utah Army facility by commercial post to laboratories over the past ten years.
(P12) In addition to the US labs, samples were sent to facilities in Australia, Canada and South Korea.
(P13) What is anthrax?
(P14) Anthrax bacteria live primarily in inactive spores and are found naturally in the soil, but people can ingest or inhale spores, which can make the anthrax active.
(P15) Not all will be sickened when exposed to anthrax but left untreated, anthrax illness can turn very serious or lead to death.
(P16) A blood culture test is used to confirm anthrax exposure.
(P17) Anthrax entered the U.S. NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS in 2001, when SHORTLY after the 9/11 attacks, letters containing powdered anthrax arrived at news organizations and the offices of US senators. Twenty-two people were sickened and of those, five people died.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Why do you think that anthrax specimens were sent from one lab to another?
- As the anthrax scare in 2001 demonstrates, anthrax can be used as a biological weapon. Do you worry about terrorists using biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons?
- What bad events have entered the “national consciousness” in your country?
- Would you be interested in a potentially dangerous job such as lab worker, medical professional, police, or fire protection? Or would that scare you too much?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- National consciousness