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ANTHRAX CAW HEALTH AND SAFETY FACT SHEET


CAW Health and Safety Fact Sheet
on Anthrax

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is an infectious disease which is not contagious. In other words, you can be infected if you come into contact with anthrax spores but you can't catch it from another person.

How can I be exposed?

There are three ways you can be exposed to anthrax. You can breathe in anthrax spores. Anthrax spores can enter your body through a cut on your skin. You can eat anthrax spores if you eat undercooked meat from an infected animal.

Anthrax spores don't live on people's skin the way contagious bacteria do.

If I am exposed, will I get sick?

You can be exposed to anthrax and not get sick. The most serious form of anthrax is if you breathe it in, but you need to inhale a lot of anthrax spores (thousands of them) to make you sick. If you are exposed through your skin, anthrax is much less serious.

If you are concerned, go to your doctor.

Anthrax is a completely treatable disease. Early treatment with antibiotics, such as penicillin, will successfully prevent serious illness.

Are people in the U.S. at risk?

In the United States, from October 5 to October 17, several dozen (of 340 million) people have been exposed to anthrax. Several of the people exposed became sick, one of whom died. The anthrax apparently came from letters sent to news media and politicians.

Am I at risk in Canada?

As of today, October 17th, in the past several weeks not one person in Canada has been exposed to anthrax.

I'm still fearful that I might be exposed to anthrax.

You should report to your supervisor and your union health and safety representative any concerns and they will be investigated.

There have been a number of work refusals at CAW workplaces in the past several days. All have been thoroughly investigated by medical, fire and police personnel. No anthrax has been found.

 

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