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BBC Learning English

Words in the News


Deadly discovery in US labs
8 September 2014

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Six deadly substances, some over a century old, have been discovered in government
laboratories in the United States. The deadly microbes were found in a hunt that started
after the accidental discovery in July of bottles of smallpox at a research centre near
Washington.
Joanna Jolly reports for the BBC:
Workers searching the government premises found six different types of microbes
classed as being so dangerous they're required to be stored at high-secure facilities.

Instead, they were found in regular laboratories. They included bacteria that cause the
plague and nerve toxins that cause botulism. A vial of the highly poisonous toxin ricin
was also found, dating from nearly a century ago.

Authorities said although the microbes had not been stored correctly, they had been
properly sealed, so posed no danger to staff. They have all been destroyed.

Words in the News


bbclearningenglish.com

British Broadcasting Corporation 2014


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Vocabulary and definitions

premises

buildings and land used by an organisation or business

microbes

small living things that can only be seen with a microscope

facilities

(here) buildings containing equipment used for a particular


activity

the plague

a disease, usually deadly, that quickly spreads to lots of


people

toxins

poisonous substances

botulism

serious illness caused by eating food that has gone bad

vial

small bottle for keeping medicine or other liquids in

posed

caused (a problem)

Read and listen to the story and the vocabulary online:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/2014/09/140908_witn_microbes

Related story:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-29089867

Words in the News

British Broadcasting Corporation 2014


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bbclearningenglish.com