Officials: Letter May Have Anthrax

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Officials: Letter May Have Anthrax

By Brendan Riley Associated Press Writer

Friday, Oct. 12, 2001; 9:00 p.m. EDT

CARSON CITY, Nev. A letter containing pornographic material that was sent from Malaysia to a Microsoft office in Reno has tentatively tested positive for anthrax, state officials said Friday.

No one has tested positive for the disease or become ill, officials said.

Additional tests were being conducted at a state Health Division laboratory to confirm whether anthrax is present in the material, and health teams were contacting Microsoft employees to determine who might have handled the letter.

Gov. Kenny Guinn confirmed the letter had been sent to the Microsoft Licensing Inc. office and that it had come from Malaysia. He said Microsoft officials contacted health officials Wednesday.

Microsoft Corp. spokesman Matt Pilla in Redmond, Wash., said he had not heard about the letter.

Dr. Randy Todd, the state epidemiologist, said the Washoe County Health Department and the FBI were involved in the investigation, which began after one company employee got a returned letter that "just didn't look right."

Todd said the letter had been opened and appeared to have been moistened and then dried out. The governor said Microsoft had sent a check in the letter to a vendor in Malaysia, and the check was still in the letter, along with the pornographic material. The vendor wasn't identified.

Todd said that in the testing "we got a number of things growing, including bacillus, the genus to which anthrax belongs."

A further test to see whether the bacillus was anthrax produced results "consistent with it being anthrax," Todd said. "But we'd like to have one more test at a minimum and maybe two more."

"There's more at this point that we don't know than we do know," he added.

"This is a cause for some concern. It is not a reason for anyone to be panicking at this time," he added. "We have nobody who is ill."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20011012/aponline210028_000.htm

-- Jackson Brown (Jackson_Brown@deja.com), October 12, 2001

Answers

A great, low-cost way to distribute anthrax. Now, I suppose, everybody is going to be afraid to open his mail. Just what the terrorists want. I wonder how many other ways they than can think of to screw up our lives.

-- Uncle Fred (dogboy45@bigfoot.com), October 13, 2001.

Saturday October 13 3:59 PM ET

Anthrax Test Positive in Nevada

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - A third anthrax test on a letter sent from Malaysia to a Microsoft office has come back positive, Gov. Kenny Guinn said Saturday.

State officials will be sending the letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing, Guinn said.

So far, no one has tested positive for the disease or become ill.

``This is a very, very low risk to public health,'' Guinn said.

Microsoft officials contacted health officials Wednesday about the letter, which had been sent to the Microsoft Licensing Inc. office.

Public health investigators were contacting Microsoft employees to determine who might have handled the letter, which contained pornographic material.

An initial test on the letter's contents produced results ``consistent with it being anthrax,'' health officials said.

The subsequent test was more specific to anthrax, but came back negative.

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/ap/20011013/us/anthrax_nevada_4.html

-- Jackson Brown (Jackson_Brown@deja.com), October 13, 2001.


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