Meatpacking worker infected with anthrax

Meatpacking worker infected with anthrax
A file photo of workers removing contaminated material. Photo: DPA
A French worker at a Saarbrücken meatpacking plant has been infected with anthrax, according to Health Ministry in Saarland.

The man was likely infected with the rare bacterial disease on a French farm in Lothringen, and not at the meat plant, the state officials reported. The possibility that the worker contaminated any of the food at the plant is “practically impossible” officials said, adding that no trace of the deadly bacteria was found on his clothing or protective equipment.

The man is being treated and was immediately removed from the job upon diagnosis on December 4, Health Minister Gerhard Vigener said in a statement.

Two other Frenchmen were also apparently infected at the end of November near Metz, the statement said.

Anthrax is best known because of letters containing the deadly substance that were sent to US officials after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The letters sparked debate about whether the substance could be used as a biological weapon by terrorists.

Spores of Anthrax, also known as bacillus anthracis, can survive for long periods of time in hostile environments and tend to infect both wild and domesticated animals when they are grazing. Infections in humans are very rare in central Europe.