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Antrax Epidemic in Sverdlovsk (Former Soviet Union) in 1979 - Research Paper Example

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Antrax Epidemic in Sverdlovsk (Former Soviet Union) in 1979

The Soviet government alleged that intestinal anthrax from contaminated meat was the cause of these deaths, a story some prominent scientists from America found convincing. On the other hand, Carter administration officials alleged that an inadvertent anthrax spores’ release of from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility situated in the city caused the outbreak (Pbs.org, 1995). Relying on information from CIA, the United States accused the Soviet Union of developing anthrax and using it as a weapon violating the 1972 Biological Weapons Treaty and disclosed their suspicions to the public. The CIA, which had satellite photographs of the military base of Sverdlovsk suggested that there was a laboratory facility in the military base. Soviet emigrants and dissidents had also heard about the death of people in the city’s southern part and ascribed these deaths to hazardous clouds emanating from the military base. The US therefore strongly believed that an explosion at Sverdlovsk’s main military base had spread lethal anthrax spores over the city, leading to the death of hundreds of people (Guillemin, 2002). The Soviets however rebutted any action regarding biological weapons and at various international conferences, they tried proving their tainted meat story. They also refused to refusal to permit researchers get into Sverdlovsk for investigations. As a restricted military area, Sverdlovsk was off-limits to foreigners (Pbs.org, 1995 and Wampler & Blanton, 2001). Western inspectors to this day have not been permitted to visit this military facility (Pbs.org, 1995). Approximately five thousand people got exposure to the aerosol. Roughly, three thousand workers were present in the ceramics factory on April 2, and eighteen of them passed away. This event’s attack rate has been estimated at two percent. Of the victims, two-thirds were men, with the median age being forty-five. Though they were definitely exposed, no children or young people were affected – the youngest victim being a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher who was suffering from tuberculosis (Guillemin, 2002). It was not until 1992, 13 years afterward, that President Boris Yeltsin confessed that military developments at the facility caused the outbreak. This was after the Soviet Union had stopped existing and Boris became the new president of the Russian government. Apparently, since he had been the chief of the Communist Party in the region during the time of the epidemic, Boris had a personal connection to the issue. He confessed that he believed that the military and KGB had deceived him regarding the true explanation. He made the confession to President George Bush at a summit meeting saying that the outbreak resulted from an accident at the biological warfare installation of the Soviet. He also pledged to clean up the hitch (Wampler & Blanton, 2001). However, he did not go into details. Consequently, the chairperson of the committee that Boris had created to oversee chemical and biological dis-armament and to determine the epidemic’s origin articulated doubts that the military facility infection was the origin of the epidemic stating that his team would carry out its own investigations, the results of which are yet to appear to date (Meselson, et al., 2000). During the 13 years, even as a strong debate raged in ...Show more

Summary

The Sverdlovsk Antrax Epidemic Name: University: Introduction On April 2, 1979, the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk, located approximately 850 miles east of Moscow, experienced an unusual outbreak of anthrax, which had an effect on 96 people and left not less than sixty-four dead…
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