Workers at a Yorkshire factory have been warned to look out for signs of anthrax after one of their colleagues was struck down by the rare disease. It is believed that the 35-year-old factory worker from Bradford became infected from a cut on his arm.

Workers at a Yorkshire factory have been warned to look out for signs of anthrax after one of their colleagues was struck down by the rare disease. It is believed that the 35-year-old factory worker from Bradford became infected from a cut on his arm.

Anthrax, which affects sheep and cattle, was common among workers in Bradford's woollen textile industry a century ago, but scientists thought it had been eradicated with chemical treatment of hides.

A health authority spokesman confirmed yesterday that workers had been warned about anthrax, which attacks the skin and lungs. Dr Ruth Gelletlie, Bradford Health Authority's consultant in communicable disease control, insisted that there was no need for public worry.

"Anthrax cannot be passed on by person-to-person contact," she said. "At this stage it is very unlikely that more cases will be discovered." She said the infected worker was expected to make a full recovery after treatment with antibiotics.

Anthrax, associated in recent times with biological weapons, is a highly infectious disease, caused by a bacteria which forms resistant spores that survive in the environment.

In 1941, scientists from Porton Down selected the remote Gruinard island off the coast of Scotland as test site for using anthrax as a biological weapon. Sheep and other animals were tethered to poles and anthrax bombs exploded. The animals died quickly, and the island was in quarantine until 1990, when it was finally safe for humans and animals to return.

Files in the Public Record Office in Kew, released last year, confirmed suspicions held by local people at the time that anthrax spores from Gruinard had spread to the nearby mainland. Files show that in the winter of 1942-43, seven cattle, two horses, three cats and 20 to 30 sheep died from anthrax.

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