Missing lab mice infected with plague

Sep 15, 2005
Mouse

The FBI and New Jersey officials have started a hushed but intensive search for three missing lab mice reportedly infected with deadly strains of plague.

The mice were discovered missing from separate cages at a bioterrorism research facility in Newark more than two weeks ago, but the incident was only confirmed Wednesday by the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

The research lab, located at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, is operated by the Public Health Research Institute, a center for infectious disease research.

The mice reportedly were infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis that causes bubonic and other forms of plague.

Scientists, however, said with modern antibiotics, plague can be treated if quickly diagnosed and is not the scourge that wiped out a third of Europe during the 14th century.

Richard Ebright, a Rutgers University microbiologist and a critic of the government's rapid expansion of bio-terrorism labs, said federal guidelines call for only minimal security at such laboratories -- a lock on the lab door and a lock on the sample container and cage.

"You have more security at a McDonald's than at some of these facilities," Ebright told the newspaper.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Experiment explores innate visual behavior in mice

Oct 10, 2013

When you're a tiny mouse in the wild, spotting aerial predators—like hawks and owls—is essential to your survival. But once you see an owl, how is this visual cue processed into a behavior that helps you ...

Innate virus-killing power discovered in mammals

Oct 10, 2013

Scientists have a promising new approach to combating deadly human viruses thanks to an educated hunch by University of California, Riverside microbiology professor Shou-Wei Ding, and his 20 years of research ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find homelessness is declining

45 minutes ago

Homelessness across the United States continues to decline, according to a new report to Congress co-authored by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

UC Santa Barbara receives $65M from Munger

17 hours ago

A physics institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has received a $65 million donation—the largest single gift in the university's history.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.