Yesterday afternoon there was the fear of anthrax in the air. But it turned out not to be the weaponized kind mailed to newscasters or politicians - it was actually seemed to naturally occuring anthrax in animal hides that a Manhattan dancer/drum-maker. There are conflicting reports about the case, such as as to whether or not Vado Diomande brought the hides back to NYC from Africa (it's illegal) or if he bought them from a distributor, or whether or not he contracted anthrax from the hides here, but what officials do not believe anyone is at risk. Even though swarms of cops, health officials and even the FBI checked out Diomande's apartment in the West Village and workspace in Dumbo, Mayor Bloomberg was quick to point out, "If you didn't work with the hides, you're not going to contract anthrax. So if you live next door or if you shook hands with the guy, you're don't have a risk. You'd have to really work with the untreated hides." (But a few people who came in contact with the hides are taking antibiotics.) So, the only anthrax we should be afraid of is the white stuff, but try not to handle untreated animal hides if you can.
Diomande collapsed earlier this month after a dance performance in Pennsylvania; he is still recovering there and colleagues were shocked to hear he had contracted anthrax. The Times profiles a NJ postal worker who contracted anthrax back in 2001 and looks at the search to understand how Diomande contracted anthrax, and the Daily News thinks that the city did well by notifying everyone about the issue to get us informed. And Gothamist remembers an anthrax scare downtown back in 2003.