Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
October 24, 2001
T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley
Anthrax Investigation Update in New Jersey
condition of the postal worker with suspected inhalational anthrax
continues to be serious but stable. The worker is an employee at
the Route 130 Mail Processing Center in Hamilton Township. Additional
laboratory results are expected soon from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC).
October 23, Acting Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS)
Commissioner Dr. George T. DiFerdinando Jr. recommended a 10-day
course of antibiotics for all postal workers at the Hamilton
Township and West Trenton facilities as a precaution while the criminal
and health investigation of a potential exposure and disease progresses.
The Acting Commissioner also recommended that all visitors to the
workplace areas at the two facilities dating back to September 18th
see a physician and begin a 10-day course of antibiotics. Dr. DiFerdinando
urged all postal workers at the two facilities with any recent dermatological
or pulmonary symptoms to see a physician at this time.
More than 1,100 people have received the nasal swab tests from DHSS,
CDC and Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center-Hamilton.
Workers who received swabs over the weekend will receive results
in the next few days. The swab tests will be used to see where exposures
might have occurred in the facility. A negative swab test does not
mean that a person has not been exposed to anthrax.
22 environmental samples taken mostly from public access areas at
the Hamilton Township facility by the DHSS show no growth for anthrax.
Nineteen of the 59 environmental sampling tests taken October 21
at the Route 130 Mail Processing Facility in Hamilton Township by
the DHSS, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
and the CDC have tested positive for anthrax at various locations
throughout the facility by the State's Public Health and Environmental
Laboratory. The 14 out of the 23 crime scene samples collected by
the FBI tested positive for anthrax at the Hamilton Township facility
and were sent to the CDC for further testing.
As of October 24, the state laboratory has received more than 919
environmental samples, such as envelopes and packages, collected
by law enforcement agencies from across the state. Testing on 520
of those specimens has been completed and all are negative for anthrax.
In addition, 305 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.
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