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Researcher Contract Rare Infection

May 13, 2000

FORT DETRICK, Md. (AP) _ A civilian researcher working for the Army on a vaccine against a rare bacterial disease contracted the illness after accidentally being exposed to bacteria.

The civilian microbiologist, identified only as a man in his mid-30s, was recently diagnosed with glanders, a bacterial infection typically found in horses and donkeys, said Col. Gerald W. Parker, commander of the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious diseases, where the exposure occurred.

While the disease is almost always fatal if left untreated, the microbiologist was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and was expected to make a full recovery.

The researcher was working on a vaccine for glanders. He first became ill in March, complaining of fever, malaise and weight loss. He was admitted to nearby Frederick Memorial Hospital May 2 and transferred to Johns Hopkins May 4.

The disease in humans is virtually unknown in the U.S., but appears periodically in South America, Africa and Asia. It was allegedly used by the Japanese during World War II to infect horses, civilians and prisoners of war.

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