Friday, August 15, 2008
Researchers at San Diego State University have made some discoveries that explain why exposure to anthrax is so dangerous. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.
Anthrax infections occur when the bacteria enter a cut in the skin, or when the spores are inhaled.
The disease spreads quickly, and can be fatal.
Dr. Kelly Doran is a microbiologist at S-D-S-U. She says her research reveals anthrax plays tricks on the brain.
Dr. Kelly Doran: The bacteria is able to interact with and invade the cells that make up the blood-brain barrier, so it has specific mechanisms to get inside those cells and then penetrate to the other side, which is now into the brain.
Doran says the bacteria also emit toxins which interfere with the body's immune system.
U.S. officials fear terrorists could use anthrax as a weapon.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.