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2nd New Jersey postal worker tests positive for anthrax

A U.S. Postal police officer directs mail trucks from the parking lot of the West Trenton U.S. Postal Service Branch in Ewing, N.J.  

(CNN) -- A second New Jersey postal worker has tested positive for cutaneous (skin) anthrax as investigators work to track down the source of the bacteria.

Eight people -- including one man who died -- have tested positive for anthrax infection since October 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 32 others have tested positive for exposure to the bacteria.

The latest confirmed cases are a female New York Post editorial assistant who tested positive for cutaneous anthrax, and a man who works at a mail distribution center in New Jersey who tested positive for the same condition. (Full story)

The man sorts mail at the Hamilton Township distribution center, which handled the anthrax-tainted letters sent to NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Both the West Trenton, New Jersey, post office where the infected letter carrier worked, and the area's main mail processing and distribution center were closed Friday as investigators scoured the buildings for clues to the origin of the anthrax. (Full story)

In a statement released Friday, the New York Post said its infected employee, who was not named, has already returned to work and "is expected to make a swift and complete recovery." It was not clear how she was exposed to the bacteria.

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 If you receive a suspicious package:
  • Handle with care; don't shake or bump
  • Isolate and look for indicators
  • Don't open, smell or taste
  • Treat it as suspect; call 911

  • Source: FBI

    Latest developments

    • Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge had said federal officials had identified the site from which some letters carrying anthrax came. But FBI Special Agent Linda Vizi in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said the FBI has not pinpointed a single mailbox, nor a single source of the anthrax.

    • Wearing white protective suits, teams of workers from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense and U.S. Capitol Police ran environmental tests Friday on several buildings on and around Capitol Hill. But authorities stressed that it was unlikely they would find any evidence of anthrax outside of the areas known to be contaminated -- the office of Sen. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, in the Hart Senate office building, and a Senate mailroom in the Dirksen Senate office building next door.

    • Friday, federal health authorities said three of the 31 Capitol Hill workers that had tested positive for anthrax exposure were in fact negative. (Full story)

    • The latest National Enquirer headline reads: "This paper not printed in the state of Florida." It is an effort to reassure readers after anthrax was linked to the Boca Raton, Florida, offices of American Media Incorporated, the publisher of the tabloid. One AMI employee recently died from anthrax, another contracted the disease and nasal swab tests found anthrax spores in a third employee.

    • Preliminary testing of a letter sent to The New York Times bureau in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, shows spores consistent with anthrax, a statement from the newspaper said. The letter was postmarked October 5 in New York City and was received at the bureau October 16. An employee was suspicious about the letter because it had no return address, the statement said.

    • A letter sent to an Argentine family from the United States, containing tourism pamphlets, has tested positive for the presence of anthrax, the minister of health said. The letter, sent from Miami, Florida, contained a pamphlet that mentioned cruises offered by Carnival Cruise Lines, but was not an official pamphlet for Carnival. So far, the one person in the family who handled the letter has tested negative for anthrax, Minister of Health Hector Lombardo said Friday.

    • Final tests performed by the Vermont Health Department indicate that a white powdery substance found Monday in the cargo hold of a Northwest Airlink flight from Detroit, Michigan, to Burlington, Vermont, does not contain anthrax.

    • Northwest Airlines has banned sugar substitutes and non-dairy creamers from its airplanes to avoid anthrax scares sparked by the white, powdery substances. (Full story)

    • Federal law enforcement investigators were conducting fingerprint and DNA analysis on envelopes sent to NBC News in New York and to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Handwriting analysis was proving more difficult, sources said, because the writer used block letters, the most difficult type of writing to analyze.

    • Investigators were checking the still-quarantined American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Florida, to determine whether any mail there may be similar to the New York and Washington letters.

    • Late Thursday, health officials in Palm Beach County, Florida, said anthrax spores had been found in two postal facilities, one in Boca Raton and one in Lake Worth. The facilities will not be shut down, they said, but crews would decontaminate them overnight.

    • Kenya's health minister says two letters sent to the United Nations in Nairobi that were suspected to contain anthrax have tested negative. (Full story)


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