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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   November 19, 2001

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

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan
(609) 984-7160

Anthrax Investigation Update in New Jersey

[Note to Press: Any updates are in bold.]

ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING RESULTS
Following is a listing of 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) where positive anthrax samples have been found.

Facility Organization* Results
Princeton-Palmer Square; Rocky Hill; Jackson Main (at 915 Bennett's Mill Road); and Trenton Station E (1137 Hamilton Avenue) Post Offices DHSS, CDC & FBI DHSS and CDC collected 15 to 25 environmental samples on Nov. 3 from each of the 49 post offices in Central New Jersey not previously sampled that have their mail processed at the Hamilton Mail Processing Facility. On Nov. 9, the department reported these 4 post offices each had 1 positive sample. Prior to cleaning, the FBI collected approximately 15 additional samples in each facility for testing. All four post offices, plus a post office in Allentown where 1 sample was equivocal and was being retested, were then cleaned in the areas where the samples were collected. The Allentown sample tested negative for anthrax; however, 2 FBI samples, collected Nov. 9 in Jackson and Trenton Station E, came back positive. The Jackson sample was from an area already cleaned and the Trenton sample area was cleaned Nov 16. DHSS and CDC did not recommend the post offices be closed, nor that employees take prophylactic antibiotics.

As of today, the state laboratory has received more than 2,249 environmental samples (i.e. envelopes and packages), collected by law enforcement agencies from across the state. Testing on 2,235 of those specimens has been completed and all are negative for anthrax. The lab conducts culture tests on environmental samples and on clinical samples that meet established testing protocols.

The Department has a bioterrorism phone line at the Emergency Operations Center at 609-538-6030 that is open between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Beginning Nov. 21, the new hours of operation will be between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. until further notice. Information is also available on the website at www.state.nj.us/health.

To date, the Emergency Operations Center has received more than 5,000 calls since Oct. 12, with 18% coming from physicians, hospitals and other health care providers; 40% from law enforcement agencies; and 42% from the general public.

 

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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