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Howard University mailrooms closed for anthrax cleanup
November 13, 2001 Posted: 1:09 PM EST (1809 GMT)
By Bill Mears CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Eight mail facilities on the campus of Howard University in Washington underwent a cleanup process Tuesday after the school's main mailroom tested positive for trace amounts of anthrax.
This is the first known case of anthrax contamination at a nongovernmental facility in the Washington area.
University spokeswoman Sheila Harvey says the mail sorting facilities were closed, and cleanup by a private contractor was scheduled to be completed Tuesday.
Separate follow-up testing of those mailrooms is also ongoing, and results are expected back with the next 72 hours. Harvey said the rest of the campus remains open, and federal officials told Howard the contamination posed no health threat to the university community.
Harvey said one of 54 environmental samples at Howard tested positive over the weekend. None of the 300 mail-handling workers at Howard was believed to be at risk, since they had been on preventive antibiotics since October 21.
All eight mail facilites at Howard received mail directly from Washington's Brentwood Road mail sorting facility, which was closed because of anthrax contamination from at least one letter was sent to the Capitol Hill office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Four Brentwood employees developed inhalation anthrax, and two have died. Health officials earlier said the anthrax spores were confined, for the most part, to Brentwood's government mail sorting area, and it was unlikely nongovernmental customers would be at risk for infection.
-- Anonymous, November 13, 2001