British-born journalist dies of anthrax in US

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The Independent US

A British-born journalist diagnosed with anthrax died last night in a Florida hospital.

Bob Stevens, 63, from Florida, is believed to have picked up the anthrax spores while on a visit to North Carolina, where he drank water from a stream. He was a photographer with a US tabloid magazine called The Sun. It is not known how long he had been living in Florida.

Yesterday, Dr Jean Malecki, the director of the Palm Beach County Health Department, said survival rates for people suffering from the disease were "very, very low". She said that authorities had retraced Mr Stevens' movements and contacts over the last 60 days before his symptoms appeared.

While experts say the likelihood of having picked up the spores from water were extremely slight, anthrax does occur sporadically in the wild. It is normally confined to sheep, cattle, pigs and goats. Interviews and samples were being taken to isolate its origins.

News of the case led to panic. The US has been on alert for further attacks, possibly involving chemical or biological weapons.