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N.Y. postal machines test positive for anthrax

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Six bar code sorting machines and a freestanding dust extractor have tested positive for anthrax at Manhattan's largest postal facility, the Postal Service said Thursday.

Q&A about anthrax decontamination 
Anthrax through the ages 

Preliminary tests found only four infected machines on the third floor of the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center, but more complete results Thursday showed more contamination.

The facility will remain open while the machines are being decontaminated, said Postal Service area Vice President David Solomon.

The Postal Service said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an additional 50-day supply of antibiotics to Morgan employees who work on the second or third floors. Distribution is set to begin on Friday.

More than 7,000 New York City postal employees received a 10-day supply of Cipro last week.

Decontamination of the Morgan facility started Monday afternoon. An independent environmental contractor licensed to handle biochemical agents was hired to do the job.

The job begins with vacuuming of the infected machines using special filters to prevent any spores from spreading in the air. Next, a bleach solution is applied to the entire third floor.

Solomon said the second floor was being be treated as a precaution. No anthrax was found on the second floor.

"If there is any danger to any postal employee, we will shut [Morgan] down," Solomon said.

William Smith, president of the New York Metro Postal Union, said all Morgan employees are at risk.

The union plans to file for a preliminary injunction in federal court Friday, seeking quick action on its lawsuit to shut down mail facilities that test positive for anthrax, according to union attorney Louie Nikolaidis.


• U.S. Postal Service
• U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
• U.S. Public Health Service
• U.S. Department of Justice
• Federal Bureau of Investigation

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