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Minn. Health Dept.: Anthrax case genetically similar to other strains in North America

A strain of anthrax found in a Minnesota man has been isolated, tested and found to be genetically similar to other strains isolated in North America, the Minnesota Department of Health said today.

The individual, a man in his 60s, was hospitalized in early August and is now recovering, state health officials said.

He had traveled in July and early August through several Northern Plains states where anthrax is known to occur naturally in the soil and has caused infections among animals in several states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The Health Department said the patient apparently was exposed to soil and animal products several times during his travels. He also had a prior lung condition that may have made him more susceptible to anthrax infection through inhalation of the bacteria, health officials said.

The case is the only human anthrax infection reported in the U.S. so far this year. It has been under investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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