BIOLOGIC AGENTS IDENTIFIED BY MARK HARTON, M.D.
Today Mark Horton, M.D., Orange County's Health Officer,
reported that two bacteria were identified among the biological materials
removed from the Biofem facility in conjunction with the investigation
surrounding Dr. Larry Ford.
The organisms, which were found in extremely poor condition,
were identified as Clostridium tetani and Clostridum difficile. C. tetani
is ubiquitous in the environment and is the bacterium that can cause
tetanus in unvaccinated individuals, or those who were vaccinated in
the past but have not maintained their immunity through receipt of the
recommended booster doses of vaccine. Tetanus can occur when an open
wound, even a medically insignificant one, is contaminated with soil
or animal feces. C. difficile can be found in the intestines of 3-8%
of healthy adults and it may cause diarrhea in individuals whose intestinal
flora has been altered as a result of receiving antibiotics, usually
in elderly persons being treated in a hospital.
There is no evidence to suggest that these materials were
being used to prepare a biological weapon, and neither of these bacteria
are on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list of possible
bioterrorism agents. As we have stated in the past, there is absolutely
no indication of any threat to public health.
No other bacterial agents have been identified. As a result
of these conclusions, the public health and laboratory investigation
into the biologic materials has been terminated.