State Tests Reveal Powder Is Not Anthrax

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The suspicious white powdery substance found on two phone booths in Payson Oct. 15 is not anthrax. What it is has not been determined, but the Arizona Department of Health Services has ruled out anthrax.

The same conclusion has been reached in the case of the substance found at the Mazatzal Casino: also not anthrax.

Anthrax is treated as a hazardous material. It is a disease with a long-standing presence in human history.

It is a bacteria that primarily affects grazing animals, such as sheep, cattle, goats and horses.

The bacteria made its way into World War I as a weapon against livestock and transportation animals.

A number of suspected uses of anthrax by the German government during WWI were alleged, but none were proven.

Japan, Great Britain and the United States all researched the use of anthrax as a weapon in WWII. The Soviet Union conducted its own research during the Cold War. The accidental release of anthrax during a secret bio-weapons research facility in the USSR resulted in the death of 66 of 77 diagnosed victims.

Troops assigned to the Persian Gulf war were vaccinated over growing concerns of Iraq's capabilities to use anthrax as a biological weapon.

Anthrax exists in soil as a spore. Under certain conditions, the anthrax spore can remain viable in soil for decades.

Human cases of anthrax are reported regularly in countries in the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union.

Cases of animal anthrax in the U.S. occur in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Cattle, sheep, goats and horses usually fall prey to the disease. Infections can occur from contact with contaminated carcasses, hides, wool, hair, blood and bones, as well as the consumption of uncooked, contaminated meat.

Workers in the clothing, yarn, insulation material, saddle pads and fertilizer industries have also reported cases of anthrax.

There are more than 20 antibiotics on the market that are used in the treatment of anthrax.

Test results from the powdery substance obtained at the high school last week by the police department have not yet been received.

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