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: Unmasking previously misunderstood gene, scientists discover potential drug target for gastrointestinal cancers

Related Stories

Here's why you don't feel jet-lagged when you run a fever

December 22, 2016

A clump of just a few thousand brain cells, no bigger than a mustard seed, controls the daily ebb and flow of most bodily processes in mammals—sleep/wake cycles, most notably. Now, Johns Hopkins scientists report direct ...

Autism-linked protein crucial for feeling pain

December 1, 2016

Sensory problems are common to autism spectrum disorders. Some individuals with autism may injure themselves repetitively—for example, pulling their hair or banging their heads—because they're less sensitive to pain than ...

Recommended for you

Cooperation helps mammals survive in tough environments

January 24, 2017

Cooperatively breeding mammal species, such as meerkats and naked-mole rats, where non-breeding helpers assist breeding females in raising their offspring, are better able to cope with living in dry areas than related non-cooperative ...

Gaia turns its eyes to asteroid hunting

January 24, 2017

While best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA's Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the ...

Your (social media) votes matter

January 24, 2017

When Tim Weninger conducted two large-scale experiments on Reddit - otherwise known as "the front page of the internet" - back in 2014, the goal was to better understand the ripple effects of malicious voting behavior and ...

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.