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MN Dept of Health investigating anthrax case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating an apparent case of someone being sickened by inhaling anthrax. Officials believe the infection was acquired from the natural environment, not from foul play.

The department announced Tuesday that the individual has been hospitalized in Minnesota after traveling through several western states, including North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota.

Laboratory tests confirmed the infection was anthrax. State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield says the patient was exposed to soil and animal remains, which can contain the anthrax bacteria.

The FBI investigated because anthrax can be used in terrorism, but found no evidence of a criminal or terrorism act. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now working with state health officials.

Lynfield says it's extremely rare for humans to become sickened with anthrax.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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