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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Kenya finds anthrax letter
Hazchem worker being hosed down
Many countries have been taking precautions
The Government in Kenya says it has confirmed a case of anthrax exposure from a contaminated letter - the first such case outside the United States in the 11 September terror attacks.

We would like to ask all Kenyans not to panic, but to remain calm

Sam Ongeri
Kenyan Health Minister
The Health Minister, Sam Ongeri, said anthrax had been discovered in a letter sent from the United States.

He said the letter had been sent to an ordinary Kenyan citizen, and that four people had been exposed to the spores.

And in New York, a fifth case of infection was found on Thursday - when an employee at CBS television was diagnosed with skin anthrax.

The US House of Representatives in Washington has been shut down until at least Monday after a letter contaminated with anthrax spores was sent to the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Atlanta postmark

Mr Ongeri said that the anthrax letter found in Nairobi had been posted in the US city of Atlanta on 8 September, and routed via Miami.

Sam Ongeri, Kenyan Health Minister
Ongeri: Government can deal with situation
The letter was received in Nairobi on 9 October and opened on 11 October.

Mr Ongeri said that the people exposed to the letter were "not in danger".

Two other suspect letters are also being tested for anthrax, including one received by the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi on Wednesday.

That letter was posted in Pakistan, while the third letter, addressed to a businessman in the town of Nyeri, appeared to have been posted in Nairobi.

Mr Ongeri said Kenyans should not panic about the discovery.

"The government has the capacity and capability to deal with the situation," he said.

US concerns

Concern about anthrax has been increasing worldwide, with five people now infected with the disease in the United States, one fatally.

Pharmacy in  Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Some people have been hurrying to buy anti-anthrax drugs
In Florida one man has died and another is receiving treatment for respiratory anthrax.

US law enforcement officials have said there is no evidence linking the anthrax scares with foreign terrorists.

But a note inside the letter sent to Mr Daschle warned: "You've been exposed to anthrax. You're going to die."

Tests have determined that the anthrax found in the letter was professionally made but was not weapons-grade.

Mounting concern about the US cases has triggered alerts and hoaxes around the world, with the Israeli parliament evacuated along with public buildings in Europe, Africa and New Zealand.

The BBC's George Eykyn
"It came as powder in a letter to a Kenyan, posted from Atlanta, Georgia"
The BBC's Andrew Harding in Nairobi
"Mr Ongeri said it was inappropriate to reveal the identity of the person who received the letter"
Kenyan Health Minister Sam Ongeri
"Further tests are being carried out"
See also:

18 Oct 01 | Americas
Bio-labs face tight security
17 Oct 01 | Americas
Anthrax: Vehicle for spreading fear
18 Oct 01 | Americas
Senate workers line up for tests
17 Oct 01 | Americas
Using anthrax as a weapon
16 Oct 01 | Americas
Tracking the anthrax spore
15 Oct 01 | Health
Q&A: Anthrax
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