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Anthrax vaccinations linked to birth defects



Published: Fri, January 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Anthrax vaccinationslinked to birth defects

WASHINGTON -- There is a new problem with the Pentagon's troubled program to protect military forces from the deadly anthrax virus -- pregnant women have mistakenly been given anthrax vaccinations that can cause birth defects. The Defense Department has ordered military health workers to come up with new plans for avoiding such mistakes after a study by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery found pregnant women who received anthrax vaccinations ran a higher risk of having babies with defects.

Officials think the study may have used faulty data and have ordered a review, bureau spokesman Lt. j.g. Mike Kafka said Thursday. That could take months, so the Defense Department's top health official is asking each military service to develop a plan within two weeks to ensure pregnant women in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines do not get the vaccinations in the meantime.

Researchers find virussimilar to HIV in chimp

WASHINGTON -- Pursuing the hunt for the origin of AIDS, researchers have found an HIV-like virus in a single chimpanzee in the wild for the first time -- and in a different part of Africa than they'd suspected. This particular type of chimp in Tanzania could not be the source for human AIDS, because the viral strain the researchers found is too genetically different.

But now that they've proved virus testing can be successful in the jungle without disturbing the endangered species, the Alabama scientists are beginning the next key step: tracking different chimps in an even more remote part of Africa, where the virus is thought to have jumped from animals to humans. Scientists have long known that nonhuman primates carry their own version of the AIDS virus. But so far, it has been found only in captive chimpanzees. No one knows how prevalent or geographically or genetically diverse the virus is in chimps in the wild.

Olson to be sentencedfor role in bombing plot

LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in three days, former fugitive Sara Jane Olson was forced to confront her past with the radical Symbionese Liberation Army. Olson, who eluded authorities for more than 20 years, was scheduled to be sentenced in state Superior Court today for conspiring to blow up police cars in 1975. Sentencing guidelines call for a penalty of 20 years to life.

Olson was also one of five people charged with first-degree murder Wednesday for a 1975 SLA bank robbery in which a bystander, Myrna Opsahl, was killed. Olson has denied taking part in the robbery in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento. In the bombing conspiracy case, Olson was a fugitive for 23 years until her capture in 1999 in Minnesota, where she was a community activist, and was married with three children.

Ammonia gas leaks fromderailed train; one killed

MINOT, N.D. -- A train derailed west of this North Dakota city early today, sending a cloud of anhydrous ammonia gas over the area, killing one resident and forcing others to evacuate. Dozens of people were being given oxygen or having their eyes flushed with water at temporary public shelters. The person who died "was found outside of his house, close to the proximity of the crash site," Ward County Sheriff Vern Erck said. He said he did not have details.

Three people were admitted to Trinity Hospital with respiratory problems, and 24 others were brought to the emergency room, hospital spokesman Randy Schwan said. The accident happened at about 1:40 a.m., when five cars of a 112-car Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed, railroad spokeswoman Laura Baenen said. The cause of the derailment was not known, and Baenen said officials were trying to assess how much anhydrous ammonia leaked.

Police arrest suspectin school shooting

NEW YORK -- A teen-ager was arrested early today in the wounding of two students at a city high school earlier this week, the first such shooting in more than seven years. Vincent Rodriguez was taken into custody at his Upper West Side home at about 3 a.m., police spokesman Sgt. Ralph Carone said. Charges against him were pending.

Two students, Andre Wilkins, 15, and Andrel Napper, 17, were injured in the shooting Tuesday at Martin Luther King Jr. High School on the Upper West Side. The shooting happened on the fourth floor near the end of the school day. Napper was in stable condition today at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, said Serena Hernandez, a hospital spokeswoman. Wilkins was released Thursday.

Associated Press




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