The Minnesota Department of Health says there’s no cause for public concern after a Twin Cities monitoring system detected anthrax bacteria last week.
After the midweek detection at an unspecified site in northern Ramsey County, the department notified health professionals in a seven-county region. The Health Department works with BioWatch, a state-federal partnership, to detect pathogens that could be linked to bioterrorism.
“One of our monitors detected it had a positive result that was consistent with bacteria that causes anthrax,” state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield, said in a phone interview late Friday. “We take every result very seriously.”
Following the detection, the department conducted further tests with the same monitor, but the results were negative, she said. Environmental swabs from the area also were negative.
The department also contacted health professionals, including hospital emergency rooms, to ask whether any patients had come in with symptoms linked to anthrax. There were no such reports.
“We have worked with the FBI and with the federal agencies to ensure that there is no concern for public health,” she said.
While the BioWatch program is focused on deliberately spread anthrax, the bacteria also occurs in nature. It can causes severe disease in sheep and cattle, and can be transmitted to humans.