Analysis identifies lethal strain of anthrax the Soviets produced as bioweapon

On the first Monday in April 1979, a wind blew south through a Siberian city called Sverdlovsk. A few days later, people and sheep began to die. Government officials said the victims had eaten meat contaminated with anthrax or come into contact with animals sickened by the deadly bacteria. Or perhaps, officials hinted, it was a plot by the American government. By the time the outbreak ended two months later, 64 people had died. It would take nearly four decades for western scientists to figure out what had happened. They shared their latest conclusions on Tuesday in the journal mBio: The Soviets had been mass-producing deadly anthrax spores as a bioweapon, but they weren’t manipulating the b

About me

Cover COVID-19 

and patient safety

for USA Today.

Former long-time health/science

journalist, contributing to The

New York Times, The Washington Post, 

Scientific, and others. Journalism educator and book author.


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