Briefly Noted

Richard Brenneman
Friday June 11, 2004

Anthrax Scare at Oakland Children’s Hospital Research Institute 

Scientists at the Oakland Children’s Hospital Research Institute discovered to their chagrin Monday that their lab mice were dying after they’d been injected with the supposedly dead anthrax bacteria obtained from a Maryland firm. 

Further tests proved Wednesday that the material was, indeed, a live and deadly culture. 

FBI bioterrorism picked up the remaining culture later Friday. 

Because the material was in liquid form, Children’s Hospital spokesperson Bev Mikalonis said employees should be in no danger. Nonetheless, some lab workers are taking precautionary doses of antibiotics, she said. 

The lab, at 6700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Oakland, is more than a mile from the hospital itself. 

The Centers for Disease Control is now investigating how Southern research Institute in Frederick, Md., managed to send out a live culture, Mikalonis said.  


Man Charged With Lawrence Livermore Thefts 

A 59-year-old Berkeley man was arraigned in federal court in Oakland Wednesday on two charges of theft of government property from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 

One count charges former lab employee Medhi Balooch with stealing $26,600 in unauthorized salary payments, and the second with claiming $23,000 in fraudulent travel expenses, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Jacobs. 

Following the arraignment before federal Magistrate Wayne D. Brazil, Balooch was ordered to appear before U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. 

The arrest followed an investigation by agents from the FBI and the Department of Energy’s Office of the Inspector General. 

The maximum sentence on each count is a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of $250,000.  


—Richard Brenneman