Friday, August 12, 2011


From Minnesota:
An investigation into the origins of Minnesota's first human anthrax case in many years is focusing on where the patient might have been exposed to the deadly pathogen, Minnesota State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said today.

..The MDH has not revealed the patient's condition or listed any identifying details such as name, gender, home state, or hospital.
This person contracted the inhaled variety as opposed to the cutaneous kind on the skin (which is more common for human infections). The story says the FBI was briefly involved, determined it wasn't terrorism, and is already off the case. Must have been something the infected person told them. For some reason those details cannot be released to the public.

As to the privacy lockdown, according to the story the mystery family has "had bad experiences with the news media in the past" and wanted the hospital to withhold information. The same MDH spokesman was quoted yesterday as follows:
"We're not giving details about the case simply because it is not a risk to the public, and we're concerned about patient privacy," said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the Minnesota state epidemiologist. She noted that anthrax is not spread from person to person.
Well no, it's not a risk to the public unless some AQ guy was out testing his crop duster. But to think public officials would pretend away a possible health threat is too ridiculous to ponder, so we won't. As to the privacy thing, since the family says they've had bad episodes with the media in the past that means they've had episodes with the media in the past. How many people have episodes with the media at all? Maybe this person is semi-famous, or the son or daughter of someone famous. If so it sorta defeats the purpose because there's no way a story like that wouldn't come out eventually. Getting anthrax from the wild isn't exactly like contracting VD from a hooker.

So maybe they aren't famous. The point of this silly speculation is that people are left to speculate about an extremely rare infection that mimics the bio-terror attack in 2001, which caused a lot of panic because everyone knows AQ wanted WMDs so they could more easily kill lots of infidels. Unless a worse case develops we'll likely not hear much more about this story going forward. Indeed--no news will be good news.


Debbie said...

This sounds very strange to me.

... the mystery family has "had bad experiences with the news media in the past"...


Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

It does sound strange due to the rarity of the event and the complete lack of mainstream coverage. But it could very well be nothing. To believe it's something we have to believe the FBI lied when they said they were out of the investigation. While some may not find that hard to believe, lying would carry a lot of future baggage if there was indeed a public threat. So I'm leaning towards a bizarre one-off right now.