Six people confirmed infected with anthrax

October 18, 2001 Posted: 2:38 p.m. EDT (1838 GMT)

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The FBI released photocopies of the letters sent to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Click to view  

(CNN) -- A New Jersey postal worker and a CBS News employee are the fifth and sixth people to test positive for anthrax infection, as federal officials on Thursday announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in mailing the deadly bacteria.

The latest confirmed infection involves a Hamilton Township postal worker who tested positive for skin, or cutaneous, anthrax, acting New Jersey Gov. Donald DiFrancesco said Thursday. A second employee is a possible case, DiFrancesco said. (Full story)

The other confirmed infection announced Thursday is a woman who works in anchor Dan Rather's office. She tested positive for cutaneous anthrax and is receiving antibiotics. (Full story)

The other cases involve an NBC employee and the infant of an ABC producer, each of whom tested positive for the same form of the disease. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common and least severe form of the infection.

Two men in Florida contracted inhalation anthrax, and one died.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, speaking at the news conference, said his agency has investigated 3,300 chemical or biological threats in the last 18 days. Of those cases, 2,500 involved anthrax threats. Mueller said the FBI had joined with the U.S. Postal Service to offer the $1 million reward.

Anthrax attacks
  Cipro sales double in Mexico
  Anthrax shuts down House
  CBS employee tests positive
  Spores mailed to Kenya
  Anthrax through the ages
  Testing for anthrax
  Advice on suspicious packages
  Message board

Investigators notice similarities in anthrax cases involving offices of a U.S. senator and NBC news anchor. CNN's Jonathan Karl reports (October 17)

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An already jittery Washington grows more nervous after a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office tests positive for anthrax. CNN's Jonathan Karl reports (October 16)

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Potent anthrax not stuff of amateurs
In Depth: The anthrax investigation
Testing for anthrax
Number of cases
Senate offices closed 
FBI: Daschle, Brokaw letters
Skin anthrax less dangerous 
 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 suspect; call 911
    Source: FBI

  • Latest developments

    Preliminary test results show the anthrax found in the letter sent to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is the same strain of anthrax received in the mailroom of a tabloid news media company in Florida, federal health officials said Wednesday.

    In Nairobi, Kenya, the country's health minister said Thursday that an envelope sent from Atlanta to a citizen tested positive for anthrax spores. Authorities are investigating two other envelopes containing white powder, including one sent to a United Nations office in Nairobi. (Full story)

    Deputy Surgeon General Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu said nasal swabs were positive for 31 people on Capitol Hill, indicating exposure to anthrax. Five are Capitol Hill police officers, three staff members in the office of Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin, and the rest from Daschle's office. Feingold's office is behind Daschle's in the Hart building.

    In Washington, most of the Capitol complex shut down Wednesday evening to allow authorities to check for anthrax. House office buildings have recessed until Tuesday for an environmental sweep of the building. In the Senate, the chamber remains open for business, but its three adjacent office buildings are closed until Monday. (Full story)

    The German pharmaceutical company Bayer Corp. said Thursday it may ask its rivals to help it produce the antibiotic Cipro, to make sure there is enough of the drug to treat anthrax. (Full story)

    The Vermont Health Department has recommended that people associated with a Northwest Airlines flight that landed in Burlington late Monday begin taking preventative antibiotics because of a powdery substance found on the plane. Health Commissioner Jan Carney said Thursday the department contacted about 60 people who may have come in contact with the substance. Carney said tests indicated the substance could be anthrax. "We believe that it is possible, but unlikely," Carney said.

    The FBI arrested a third person Wednesday on charges of mailing a false anthrax threat. Authorities said the Rhode Island man admitted mailing the letter to a friend as a joke. The friend called 911. (Full story)

    New York Gov. George Pataki closed his Manhattan offices Wednesday after an environmental test indicated the presence of anthrax spores in a room used by a state police security detail.

    Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said Wednesday drug companies have assured him that sufficient supplies of antibiotics would be on hand to treat anthrax victims. He said his agency is asking Congress for $1.5 billion to build stockpiles of the medicines needed to treat anthrax and smallpox, another potential biological weapon all but eradicated as a disease in the United States decades ago.

    A top Pentagon spokeswoman tells CNN that mail facility workers are wearing gloves and masks as they sort piles of material they handle. In addition, she said, the ventilation systems in the building have been "periodically checked fairly regulary" since September 11.