Anthrax hoax shutters Bulgarian capital city's town hall

An alert was received in the Bulgarian city of Sofia via phone insisting that someone had delivered a backpack full of anthrax inside the downtown City Hall building, which led to the evacuation of the building.

An unidentified female voice called the building on Thursday afternoon, leading police and civil defense teams to begin conducting a thorough check of the building, Novinite reports. When the check was concluded, municipal administration employees were able to return to work.

While bomb threats require the building to be sealed off for 24 hours, a threat of anthrax only keeps employees out until the check has been completed.

Sofia is the largest city and the capital of Bulgaria. It is located in the western part of the country.

Anthrax is a potentially deadly disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax was used as a weapon in the United States in 2001 during a deliberate attack through the postal system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax symptoms can occur within a week of coming into contact with the bacterium or can take up to 42 days if the bacterium is inhaled. Antibiotics used in conjunction with the anthrax vaccine should be used for treatment before infection if exposed. If infection has occurred, a 60 day course of antibiotics is required.