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Microsoft letter probably didn't contain anthrax, Nevada officials say

RENO, Nevada (CNN) -- A suspicious letter sent to a subsidiary of Microsoft "probably" did not contain anthrax, health officials said, adding that conclusive results may be available Saturday.

Earlier, state health officials said the first test on the letter's contents "had tested presumptively positive for anthrax." But a second round of test results, released late Friday, did not show signs of the bacteria.

Microsoft Licensing Inc., which handles licensing of Microsoft software and is based in Reno, received the letter, according to the Nevada Division of Emergency Management.

 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 a suspect; call 911

    Source: FBI

    Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn talks with CNN about a suspicious envelope mailed to a subsidiary of Microsoft in Reno (October 12)

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    "[Another] test Saturday morning will give us our final answer as to whether it is positive or negative," District Health Officer Barbara Hunt said. She added that "false positives" are possible, explaining the inconsistent test results.

    "We believe that the person who handled the envelope is at a low risk for infection even if it turns out to be anthrax," she said, noting there was no powder or residue.

    State health officials are testing the employee who handled the envelope and "a very few" others who came in proximity to it. Hunt said the FBI and Reno Police Department were investigating the incident.

    A statement from Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, said the company is taking the matter seriously.

    "We will continue to work with authorities to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our employees and the broader community," the statement said.

    Gary Derks, state duty officer for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, said the company received the letter around 2:30 p.m. PDT Friday (5:30 p.m. EDT). He said it had originally been sent from the Microsoft Licensing office in Reno to Malaysia -- a country where there are known cells of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network -- and then was returned to the Reno office.

    Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn told CNN the letter initially included a check. When it was returned, it contained the check and pornographic materials, Guinn said. He said there was no powder in the letter when it was returned, but that it looked like it had been damp and then dried out.


    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • U.S. Attorney General

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