SOVIET EXPLANATION OF ANTHRAX ACCIDENT IN SVERDLOVSK: THE DECEPTION CONTINUES

Created: 5/12/1988

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wo Soviot. Bstdeiwxhnykh

published sa srtlclo in ths leading Sovlst microbiological journal titledanalysis of anthrei In Svardlovak." They reviewed the history of anthrax ln the Sverdlovsk region, end stated:

"There Is no doubt of the possibility of Infection during the slaughter and dreaming of the carcaaaem of anlaals Infected with anthrax or from use of Infected seat and aeat products for food. It also Is known that spores ln seat die only after Intensive heat treataent. Heverthelssa, aeat partially rendered haraleas rarely cauaea several Illnessesingle faally. One person usually proves to

The theme of one case per faally will reappearlso, Nikiforov was to becoae one of the three aan delegation to the US -W

The two Soviet aclentlats thenontaminated seat-borna outbreak, Including recovery of enthral geras froa stored seat froa

refrigerators of two feallles. Another cue nu described ascutaneous fore Of enthralerson who becase Infectediseased sheep. They also stated that air aaapllng froa dwellings and hoapIUl wards as well as the wiping* of utensils snowed that patients ware not contagious. They did not sention the eiteat or the outbreak, nor were any deaths sentloned.

Itn articleoviet legal review discussed the trial of two farsers for the sole of uninspected and Infected seat rroe one ceir and three sheep. Ita tad that the seat sold waa responsible for causing two cases of huean enthral. Ho deaths were aentloned. Dlaposallseaaed cow

Viral, tha Soviat* naaed Major Conaral f. I. afafonov aaisitor to Sverdlovsk (pr^susably during tha epldealc). Hhlls oo otharbusiness, ho oorurulted with Burgaacv, ostaosieiy because hato bo la tha area. During dlscuaalona at the Hatlonal Acadeay of Sclancas (MAS) la aaahington, Burgaaor Identified Agafonov as froa tha Oral* Military District, but la tar during tha aaas seating he was identifiedea her of the Kin Is try of Health teas froa Hoscow invsstlgatlng the spldealc. Burfasov did not refute this ailitary eoru^ectlon, but he again eaphaslsed there waa no ailitary Involvement in the control of the epldeelc. JMT"

Second, the Sovlats olalaed that the carcassow which died of enthral waa found ln an abandoned air*shaft. Dr. Ilklforov stated that heaaple froa It, and found that It tested positive for snthrsi.

Third, the Soviets argued that, if tho snthrsi spores had been spread by"lissealnation, aany caaea in children would have been eipeotad. 5 they reported that only one child was Infected. They eiplalned that since children ate their seal* in school* or nurseries, where only Inspected aeat waa served, they were not exposed to any of the oontaalnated black-aarket aeat.

Reporting of rajtrointesilna- CUU only also provldss plausible flipUrutloru) of mm prtviously uneiplalned quirks of tho Soviot story. For inatsncs, when qutitlonod about the predominance of single salt victims, one tohouMlwld, tm SovloU provided ths followingat tho national Acadeay of Solanoaa:

"Panlllea soaatlaa purchase blsck-asrket aeat. In this Instance, the aeat was oontaalnated with anthrsi. The sale head Mjf-household always receives the largest portion of aeat servedeal."

plausibility Is offset if8 explanation la coapared bo6 version as presented by Or. Neselsonriefing st the Departaent of State. In that vsrslon there was an elaborate discussion of Russian customs for cooking aeat slowly by simmering, which was stated to only partially sterilise the anthrax spores, and also proposed that sen were aors vulnerable due to ulcers or gastritis resulting froa alcoholrr

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