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Anthrax in Pakistan

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    Anthrax in Pakistan

    Germ and chemical warfare is one of the most cowardly forms of attacks that anyone can perpetrate against anyone. I hope whoever is responsible for it rots in hell.

    Pakistanis need to be on the lookout for anything suspicious, without getting paranoid. Targets may include Pakistan Armed forces as well.

    KARACHI: Two cases of anthrax attacks have already taken place in Pakistan, involving multi-national companies, including an American bank, but for unknown reasons officials are trying to keep them under wraps.

    Senior executives at two business organisations in Karachi -- an international bank and a computer-marketing firm -- received international mail that carried anthrax spores mixed with some powdery material last week.

    A number of staff members at both organisations are now being treated for anthrax. A senior staff at the main laboratory of Aga Khan University and Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi confirmed on Monday that the laboratory test on two specimens received from these organisations on Friday last showed that one of the two specimens was loaded with anthrax while the other one had some traces of the dreaded bacterium, Bacillus Anthracis, in medical terms.

    Another senior executive at the Aga Khan hospital has informed The News that soon after the detection of anthrax, a detailed report was sent to the government of Pakistan health officials both here and in Islamabad with recommendations to create public awareness.

    Medical experts say that since first cases of anthrax have already been confirmed in Pakistan the authorities must immediately launch a public awareness exercise because almost all forms of anthrax if caught early enough can be cured by prompt antibiotic treatment and if it is left untreated, it kills about one in five people. Requesting anonymity a senior ministry of health official in Karachi confirmed that Aga Khan hospital has reported the first case of anthrax in Pakistan and the matter has been referred to top federal authorities in Islamabad who were considering the pros and cons of making a public disclosure about the advent of anthrax in the country.

    Experts have described anthrax as perfect germ for bio terrorism mainly because it is not contagious and only those exposed to a release of spores get sick. Since its outbreak in the United States soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, two postal workers are reported to have died while about 20 people are now being treated for anthrax.

    The first anthrax carrying mail, sources in the affected business organisations said, was addressed to the joint-president of a Zurich-based Pakistani bank and it had originated from New York city. A Karachi computer company that deals in American brands had also received dusty anthrax material in a mail envelope.

    The employees from both organisations who may have handled the mail were later given penicillin doses at Aga Khan hospital. A senior security official in Karachi has also confirmed that intelligence agencies have been ordered to trace the roots of the new anthrax threat to Pakistan.

    An official source said that a strategy was being debated in consultation with the Post Master General to caution the postal staff on domestic and international mail that may carry anthrax. Before using it as a weapon for bio-terrorism anthrax spores are dried and then mixed with any powdery substance, a process that needs excellent scientific skills and facilities.

    How well is Pak prepared for this kind of attacks on civilians and our armed forces?

    It seems that in most case the targets makes sense - Meaning that in case of any tragic event they'll make news. How come there is no known pattern yet?

    How many Muslim countries are capable of experimenting with chemical weapons?


      Once again, our government is trying to cover things up instead of informing the public of a new danger.

      the difficulty is in not knowing where to put the blame. sad times.


        If this is true, it sure puts a damper on external investment in Pakistan. What western country would want to open an office, only to have it poisoned?

        Apparently there have been no confirmed cases beyond US borders, and most of the overseas cases have been false negatives. However it would speak very loudly that someone wants western influences out of Muslim counties.
        Boycott Venezuelas State owned Citgo.

        Buy Royal Dutch Shell gasoline!


          Originally posted by sabah:
          How well is Pak prepared for this kind of attacks on civilians and our armed forces?

          It seems that in most case the targets makes sense - Meaning that in case of any tragic event they'll make news. How come there is no known pattern yet?

          How many Muslim countries are capable of experimenting with chemical weapons?

          As far as preparation goes, its not a huge problem. Anthrax is a bacteria which is curable by common antibiotics. Skin infection can be cured as many as 6 weeks after contact. Inhaled infection has a 2-3 shelf life...perhaps a little less.

          Pakistan has ample detection labs and facilities to be able to monitor and detect such an outbreak.

          Regarding the lack of a pattern of outbreak, well, even though the targets may be clearly defined by the sender himself, he cannot control the fate of the spores unless he hand delivers them to his intended target. Because of that, the spores, which are mainly being spread via mail, have a tendency to be handled randomly by a variety of people, including mail handlers, peons, assisstants, etc.

          How many muslim countries are capable? Iraq purchased anthrax from the USA in the late 80s. Other than that, I dont know if there is any other muslim country actively known to be involved in this. Libya and Iran's names often pop up, but I doubt they would have any reason to be involved in it at this time.

          Other than that, Israel, USA and Russia are known to have huge stockpiles of anthrax. And it is most likely that the source of the current outbreak is from within one of these three. That does not however define the exact perpetrators...but nonetheless, it is most likely that the killer is in their backyard somewhere.


            There was another case in the news a week ago right when the first case in Kenya or Nigeria was reported.

            They have been saying for the past few days that the type of spores found so far are known to exist in U.S., Russia and Iraq.
            The way evidence is put together and talked about in the media very actively is that Iraq is responsible. U.S. will bear its pressure on Iraq when the current food for oil program comes up for renewal.

            By how the media is riling people up it is my firm belief that their is an immenent threat of attack by the U.S. on Iraq. This time they will be out to neutralize Saddam. But by doing that U.S. will leave a front open for itself to face: the Iranian threat in the middle east.

            I am hearing more and more talk about the role of Iraq on the local radio talk shows.

            I read yesterday or the day before that U.K. is getting alarmed by U.S.'s attempt to finger Iraq in the anthrax scare. They are saying that they have not seen any proof that links the U.S. anthrax attacks to Iraq.
            I don't know who the U.K. politician was.


              US may have Iraq next on its list of targets, but if they do go after any other country after Afghanistan, they are sure to lose 99% of their mideast support. Other than Kuwait and Israel, Im not sure any mideast country will support an attack on Iraq. So USA has its work cut out with regards to maintaining this shaky coalition.