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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   October 30, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160

Anthrax Investigation Update in New Jersey

[Note to Press - Any changes are in bold.]

Following is an update on the condition of postal workers with anthrax: Note that the CDC defines a confirmed case of anthrax as 1) a clinically compatible case of cutaneous, inhalational, or gastrointestinal illness that is laboratory confirmed by isolation of B. anthracis from an affected tissue or site or 2) other laboratory evidence of B. anthracis infection based on at least two supportive laboratory tests. A suspected case is defined as 1) a clinically compatible case of illness without isolation of B. anthracis and no alternative diagnosis, but with laboratory evidence of B. anthracis by one supportive laboratory test or 2) a clinically compatible case of anthrax epidemiologically linked to a confirmed environmental exposure, but without corroborative laboratory evidence of B. anthracis infection.

Patients Patient Status Conditions
New Jersey resident with Cutaneous Anthrax Confirmed by CDC on Oct 29 Released from hospital and recovering
The above case of cutaneous anthrax (whose occupation is not linked to the postal system) announced yesterday is under active and intense investigation by public health and law enforcement officials. The DHSS and CDC - along with the FBI - are doing environmental sampling at the patient's workplace and home today. All employees at the patient's workplace were offered a 10-day regimen of antibiotics pending the results of environmental sampling.
West Trenton Postal Worker with Cutaneous Anthrax Confirmed by CDC on Oct. 18 Recovering
Route 130 Hamilton Mail Processing Facility Worker with Cutaneous Anthrax Listed as Suspected by CDC on Oct. 18 Recovering
Route 130 Hamilton Mail Processing Facility Worker with Cutaneous Anthrax Listed as confirmed on Oct. 19 by Pennsylvania Department of Health Recovering
Route 130 Hamilton Mail Processing Facility Worker with Inhalational Anthrax Confirmed by CDC on Oct 28.Listed as suspected by CDC on Oct. 23. Clinically improving, but still hospitalized
Route 130 Mail Hamilton Processing Facility Worker with Inhalational Anthrax Confirmed by CDC on Oct. 29 Listed as suspected on Oct. 25 by CDC. Discharged from hospital and recovering

As far the DHSS and CDC investigation has determined, the two postal workers from the Eatontown mail processing facility have no evidence of anthrax.

A physician with Capital Health Systems is reporting a preliminary positive nasal swab result on a Trenton firefighter. At this time, the DHSS and CDC do not consider this patient to be possible case of inhalational anthrax. The firefighter is doing well, with the exception of a slight cough. However, the nasal swab test has been forwarded to the State's Public Health & Environmental Laboratories for confirmation.

Following is a listing of all environmental sampling tests conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and crime scene sampling by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):

Postal Facility Organization Results
Cartaret Facility DHSS and CDC All 14 samples taken Oct. 24 are negative for anthrax through final testing. The DHSS and CDC has informed the facility manager to advise workers and business visitors to stop taking antibiotics that had been given as a precautionary measure.
Downtown Station on Montgomery St., Trenton FBI All 11 samples taken to date are negative for anthrax through final testing.
Princeton Main, West Windsor

DHSS & CDC


FBI

23 samples taken Oct. 27 are preliminary negative to date.

22 samples taken Oct. 27 are preliminary negative and one sample is positive.

Princeton Post office in West Windsor will remain closed pending additional environmental sampling results. Although not recommended, workers at the Princeton Post Office were offered 10 days of antibiotics over the weekend.
Route 130 Mail Processing Facility, Hamilton Township DHSS, CDC & FBI 34 out of 102 samples taken are positive for anthrax through final testing. The DHSS collected 20 samples on Oct 18 in the public areas and common use - all are negative. Also on Oct. 18, the FBI took 23 samples (14 are positive). The DHSS and CDC team took 59 samples (20 are positive) on Oct. 21.
West Trenton facility, Ewing Twp.

DHSS & CDC

FBI

All 22 samples taken Oct. 25 are negative for anthrax through final testing.

All 20 samples taken Oct. 19 and analyzed at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease are preliminary negative for anthrax to date.

West Trenton facility, Ewing Twp. (areas outside the facility) FBI All 15 samples taken Oct. 23 by the FBI are negative for anthrax through final testing
The West Trenton Post Office will remain closed pending final FBI environmental sampling results from USAMRIID. Results are expected soon.

The Department has 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. Hearing-impaired residents with anthrax-related concerns can contact the New Jersey Relay Center by dialing either 711 or 1-800- 852-7899.The Relay Center will convey the message to DHSS at 609-538-6030. Information is also available on the website at www.state.nj.us/health.

As of today, the state laboratory has received more than 1,279 environmental samples, such as envelopes and packages, collected by law enforcement agencies from across the state. Testing on 914 of those specimens has been completed and all are negative for anthrax. 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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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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