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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   October 24, 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

  • The 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).
  • On 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.

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

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