Missing lab mice infected with plague

September 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: Stem cells express genes differently in the lab dish than in the body, study finds

Related Stories

Introducing titin, the protein that rules our hearts

November 14, 2017

Although scientists have long speculated that a protein named titin measures thick filaments—the proteins that make muscles contract—no one has been able to provide evidence to support their theories.

Recommended for you

Understanding enzyme cascades key to understanding metabolism

December 18, 2017

A spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down, but understanding what happens to that sugar in the cell is far more complicated than simple digestion, according to researchers. For sugars to metabolize and provide energy ...

Cheap, sustainable battery made from tree bark tannins

December 18, 2017

(Phys.org)—Tannins may be best known for their presence in red wine and tea, but in a new study researchers have demonstrated for the first time that tannins from tree bark can also serve as battery cathode materials. As ...

Orbital mayhem around a red dwarf

December 18, 2017

In the collective imagination, planets of a solar system all circle in the equatorial plane of their star. The star also spins, and its spin axis is aligned with the spin axes of the planetary orbits, giving the impression ...

0 comments

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.