-State and federal health agencies are recommending that all postal
workers at the Route 130 Mail Processing Center in Hamilton Township
and the West Trenton Post Office to see their private physicians
and begin a seven-day course of antibiotics as a precaution while
the criminal and health investigation of potential anthrax exposure
at the two facilities progresses.
medical protocols specific to
workers at these facilities is posted
on our website. The media is asked to print the protocols for
workers and their doctors.
addition, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
(DHSS) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) are in the process of finalizing their response plan to the
situation at the two U.S. Postal Service locations. The plan will
address possible additional environmental testing and decontamination
of the DHSS, CDC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collected
environmental samples yesterday. Nasal swabs for selected staff
may also be taken within the next couple of days. Details of this
aspect of the response plan are still being worked out.
of the clinical and environmental testing conducted in the DHSS
lab, as well as other information gathered during the on-going investigation,
will impact what additional measures are needed to ensure the health
and safety of postal employees and visitors to the facilities.
Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco announced that one postal
worker from the West Trenton post office has been confirmed as a
definite case of cutaneous anthrax in testing conducted by the CDC,
while a second postal worker stationed at the mail processing center
in Hamilton Township is considered by the CDC to be a possible case
at this time. In response to this finding, members of the DHSS and
CDC met with U.S. Postal Service staff last night to discuss the
elements of the response plan.
to Acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando,
MD, preliminary skin culture tests were negative as the patients
had been on antibiotics before testing. Blood samples for both workers
and a skin biopsy from one worker were sent to the CDC for further
testing using special reagents. The skin biopsy was positive for
anthrax. Serum specimens were positive for anthrax in both workers.
On October 13, 2001, both patients' physicians notified the Department
of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) after hearing about the cancelled
letter from Trenton that was sent to New York City. They reported
that their patients may have been in contact with the letter received
by Tom Brokaw at NBC-TV. Both patients had been treated with antibiotics
in late September to early October.
DHSS received specimens from both patients on October 14th and cultures
were performed that same day. Blood for antibodies was sent to the
CDC also on October 14th. The skin biopsy was delivered to the State
laboratory and examined by the State Medical Examiner on October
16th, which was then sent to the CDC and the FBI later that day.
The CDC received the biopsy specimen on October 17th and reported
results to DHSS on the morning of October 18th.
to Dr. DiFerdinando, the state laboratory has received over 400
environmental samples, such as envelopes and packages, collected
by law enforcement agencies from across the state. Testing on 65
of those specimens has been completed and all are negative for anthrax.
In addition, 82 samples have tested negative in preliminary tests.
The lab conducts preliminary (gram/spore stain) tests and culture
tests on environmental samples and on clinical samples that meet
established testing protocols. Testing on all environmental samples
in the DHSS lab is final, while all clinical samples are sent on
to the CDC for additional testing.
Department has established a bioterrorism phone line at the Emergency
Operations Center at 609-538-6030 that is open between 8 am and
11 pm until further notice. From 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., the number is
609-392-2020. Information is also available on the website at www.state.nj.us/health.