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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   November 10, 2001

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

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg
(609) 538-6030 -- Emergency Operations Center


DHSS Provides Update on Sampling at New Jersey Postal Facilities

The Department of Health and Senior Services has announced today that anthrax test results for one environmental sample taken from the Allentown Post Office - one of the 49 postal facilities that feed into the Route 130 Mail Processing Facility in Hamilton Township - did not sufficiently confirm the absence or presence of anthrax and is currently being retested at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The 'equivocal' sample represents only one environmental sample that was collected at the Allentown Post Office among a total of 20 collected at that facility," said Assistant Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz, MD. "Since the post office will be closed tomorrow, we have recommended to the U.S. Postal Service that the facility be cleaned before it reopens. The post office will be cleaned Sunday while awaiting final results."

Today's update follows yesterday's announcement of four post offices that feed into the Hamilton facility, with one positive sample each - Princeton-Palmer Square; Rocky Hill; Jackson Main (at 915 Bennett's Mill Road); and Trenton Station E (1137 Hamilton Avenue). The area, where the positive sample was collected in each facility, was cleaned up early this morning and the post offices were then open today. All other test results from the 49 facilities were confirmed as negative.

The DHSS and CDC are also reiterating that Allentown employees not take prophylactic antibiotics, as was also recommended yesterday for the postal workers at the other 48 facilities. Those employees who began antibiotics as a precautionary measure can discontinue taking them. Workers who continue to have health concerns have been advised to speak with their health care provider or representatives of the health service available to postal employees.

The 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.

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

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