-Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco announced at a press conference
earlier today that
one postal worker stationed at the West Trenton post office has
been confirmed as a definite case of cutaneous anthrax in testing
conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). DiFrancesco also said that a second postal worker from the
Route 130 Mail Processing Center in Hamilton Township is considered
by the CDC to be a possible case at this time.
want to again remind New Jerseyans to remain calm, but vigilant.
From law enforcement to public health, we are doing everything we
can to protect your health and safety," said DiFrancesco. "There
is no reason to alter your daily routine and everyone should continue
about their lives as normal while maintaining a higher degree of
awareness of your surroundings."
According 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.
DiFerdinando said that the CDC has sent a team to work with the
DHSS, law enforcement and postal officials on the further investigation
and response to this situation. The federal and state team will
be developing a medical protocol and further recommendations. Representatives
from the Department of Health and Senior Services are meeting with
employees and working with their union leadership to provide information.
to Dr. DiFerdinando, the state laboratory has received over 400
environmental samples to date - and all testing completed to date
on the environmental samples has been 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. 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.