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Searching for the deadly bacteria trail to find terrorists



Anthrax or anthrax traces have been detected in the District of Columbia and seven states: New York, New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri and Indiana.

Most of the 16 anthrax victims have been postal employees who are believed to have handled three contaminated letters postmarked in Trenton, New Jersey, and sent to government offices in Washington or media outlets in New York. Anthrax cases in Florida are believed to be from a contaminated letter or letters, but no letter has been found.

Health authorities Thursday reported "no clues" that might link the anthrax death of the latest victim, a 61-year-old Bronx, New York, woman, to tainted mail.

Dr. Julie Gerberding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did say, however, that "we haven't identified anything about this strain that's different from strains in the other areas."

Kathy Nguyen was the fourth person in October to have died of inhalation anthrax. Her death was listed officially as a homicide.

"Every aspect of her life is being tracked right now to try to track her whereabouts," said Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan. "We know absolutely of no connection between her and the mail at this point."


A New York woman with no known connections to recent anthrax incidents dies of the disease. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports (October 31)

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  • Summary

  • Case history

  • Key questions

  • Bottom line

Anthrax attacks
  •  Investigators baffled by 94-year-old woman's death
  •  Gephardt: Anthrax cleanup 'tougher than expected'
  •  Official: CIA uses anthrax, but no link to letters
  •  Anthrax symptoms
  •  Tracking the bacteria
  •  Advice on suspicious packages
  •  Message board

Infections -- 16

Inhalation cases:

Florida -- Robert Stevens, photo editor at American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, died of inhalation anthrax.

Washington -- Two postal workers -- Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr. -- died of inhalation anthrax. Both worked at the Brentwood processing center.

New York -- Kathy Nguyen, hospital supply room worker, died of inhalation anthrax.

Washington -- Two other Brentwood workers, inhalation anthrax.

Washington area -- State Department mailroom employee, inhalation anthrax.

Florida -- Ernesto Blanco, who worked in same building as Robert Stevens, diagnosed with inhalation anthrax; released from hospital on October 24.

New Jersey -- Two Hamilton Township postal workers, inhalation anthrax.

Cutaneous (skin) cases:

New York-- NBC News, female assistant to Tom Brokaw; ABC News, infant son of producer; CBS News, female assistant to Dan Rather.

New Jersey -- West Trenton postal worker; Hamilton Township mail processing employee; Hamilton Township resident.

Suspected cases -- 5

3 in New York

  • New York Post employee, suspected case of cutaneous anthrax

  • New York Post employee, suspected case of cutaneous anthrax

  • ABC employee, suspected case of cutaneous anthrax

2 in New Jersey

  • Hamilton Township mail processing employee, suspected case of cutaneous anthrax

  • Camden County postal worker, suspected case of cutaneous anthrax


How long has anthrax threatened people? Click here for more

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Although the U.S. postal system has been the method of delivery for all but one of the 16 confirmed anthrax cases, that one case is frustrating investigators who can find no link between the mail and the New York woman who died of anthrax. But scientists have reason to believe her case may be linked to the others because the bacteria appears to be the same type.


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