2006_02_goatdrum.jpgOfficials are still trying to get to the bottom of the Brooklyn dancer-drum maker's case of inhalation anthrax. Vado Diomande has been recovering at a Pennsylvania hospital since being diagnosed with anthrax, which authorities believe he contracted while making a drum with goat skins. While investigating his apartment, the warehouse and another apartment in Crown Heights are being tested and now seven people are being treated with antibiotics as a precaution (just a precaution), the bigger question seems to be whether or not the country's customs laws are tough to regulate the flow of various agents onto U.S. soil - and the answer seems to be no. It's pointed out that when Diomande could have notified authoritities about shipping goat skins from Africa various steps along the way, but he didn't:

"Absolutely, there are questions on the Customs declarations asking if the person is importing any type of animals, plants or meats, or whether they have been on a farm," said Lucille Cirillo, a supervisory Customs and Border Protection officer in the New York field office. "All the indications that I have gotten are that Mr. Diomande did not declare anything on his Customs declaration on the 20th of December."

Maybe Diomande thought that since these were goat skins, they didn't really count - they were already dead, of course. And not delcaring items it not so uncommon - foodies would smuggle unpasteurized cheese in from France. Gothamist found the reaction of other African drum makers the NY Times interviewed amusing: They claimed not to be afraid of anthrax - only the government.

The Daily News has an anthrax and smallpox 101 page. And experts are still trying to understand how Diomande got so sick, but he is recovering nicely according to reports.