MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Health authorities in Minnesota say a 61-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla., man has survived an infection by a rare and lethal strain of anthrax.
Doctors said Dan Anders apparently inhaled spores of a naturally occurring strain of anthrax during a summer vacation as he and his wife headed from Florida to North Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
Reaching a friend’s home in Minnesota, Anders was feeling run down and was taken to a local hospital.
Blood tests revealed Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax bacteria.
On Aug. 5 Anders, already delirious at that point, was taken to a Minneapolis hospital for emergency treatment, where he was put in a medically induced coma and spent 11 days on life support.
“The reason the bacteria is such a problem is the toxins the bacteria produces,” said Dr. Mark Sprenkle, a specialist who treated Anders in Minneapolis. “The toxins can lead to many sorts of problems and people can go on to develop multisystem organ failure.”
The kind of infection Anders had, inhalation anthrax, is rare.
“They say it can lay in the ground for 60 years and then pop back up,” Anders said.
“They said I had a less than 5 percent chance of making it,” Anders said Tuesday, his voice hoarse and weak after 24 days in the hospital. “But I did.”