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Lithuania anthrax test positive



VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNN) -- Test results show at least one mailbag at the U.S. Embassy in the Lithuanian capital has tested positive for anthrax, an embassy spokesman said.

"The embassy has confirmed at least trace amounts of anthrax in one of the five mailbags" sent to the Microbiology Laboratory of the Vilnius Public Health Centre, embassy public affairs officer Michael Boyle told CNN on Friday.

He said the embassy is waiting for directions from Washington on how to handle decontamination of the embassy's mailroom and any other sections of the building that may need to be cleaned up.

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The discovery came as the State Department expanded the environmental testing of its headquarters and annex buildings from the mailrooms to random samplings throughout the buildings.

The move followed complaints by State Department employees about what they saw as a lack of caution and communication following the recent discovery of anthrax at their headquarters.

Trace amounts of anthrax were found within the past week in two of the mailrooms at the State Department headquarters, on letters sent to the agency's Rewards for Justice Program, and in a mail pouch bound for the U.S. embassy in Peru.

In Vilnius, Boyle said decontamination will be carried out in consultation with Lithuanian officials and possibly their assistance.

Boyle said antibiotics have been offered to the entire embassy staff. He said about 40 of the 130 embassy personnel have started taking the anti-anthrax drugs so far, but Boyle said he expected the number to grow.

All State Department offices and embassies around the world that received mail from the Brentwood mail facility in Washington -- where two postal employees contracted inhalation anthrax and later died -- were tested for anthrax and their employees given antibiotics, after a State Department mail handler was diagnosed last week with inhalation anthrax.



 
 
 
 


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• Federal Bureau of Investigation

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