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Monday, 15 October, 2001, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Anthrax sent to Senate leader
daschle
Tom Daschle: Staff being treated
A letter opened in the office of US Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle had anthrax in it.


I am very disappointed and angered

Tom Daschle
Between 40 and 50 people - mostly members of staff based in Mr Daschle's office across the street from the Capitol building - are being treated following exposure.

Earlier, President Bush warned all Americans about letters coming from unknown senders.

American TV network CNN said the contaminated letter sent to Mr Daschle, and another to NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw in New York, both bore a postmark from Trenton, New Jersey.

Two NBC employees are being treated after coming into contact with the letter.

There have been 11 other cases concerning anthrax sent through the post in the US, including:

  • Robert Stevens, a photo editor at the Sun tabloid in Boca Raton, Florida, died from anthrax on 5 October

  • taipei
    Taipei: The scare has spread around the world
    Five more Florida-based employees of the Sun's parent company, American Media Inc, are being tested for suspected anthrax exposure

  • In Nevada, officials said the contents of a letter sent from Malaysia to a branch of Microsoft in Reno had tested positive for anthrax.

Mr Daschle said: "I am very disappointed and angered, but I am confident that because we expected something like this to happen we were able to deal with it as successfully as we did."

chemist
The anthrax scare has sparked a rush for anti-biotics
The US Government is trying to calm fears of a public health risk.

"The key thing for the US people is to be cautious about letters from people that you do not know - any letters that look suspicious - and take them to the local law enforcement officers," said Mr Bush.

In an unusual twist, it has emerged that the wife of the Sun's editor rented an apartment to two of the hijackers in the 11 September plane attacks on the US.

Strains of anthrax
Respiratory: Similar beginnings to flu but shock occurs between two and six days later - frequently fatal
Intestinal: Severe food poisoning type symptoms - up to 50% mortality
Cutaneous: Rarely painful skin lesion - fatal in one in 20 cases
But the FBI has said any link between the attacks and the anthrax scare was purely coincidental.

Hospital emergency centres in parts of the US are reported to be busy with people worried about the scare.

Some pharmacies are limiting supplies of ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat the disease, after unusually strong demand.

US anthrax cases have caused concern across the world, and encouraged hoaxers to make the most of mounting insecurity.

  • In Germany, authorities are testing white powder found in an envelope sent to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

  • In France, hundreds of people were evacuated from offices and a school following the discovery of suspicious letters

  • In Lithuania, police evacuated the offices of the Respublika daily newspaper in the capital, Vilnius, after a package was received with the word 'jihad', or 'holy war', scrawled on it

  • In Canada, the federal parliament building in Ottawa was partially closed when a worker developed a rash after handling a package containing powder

  • In Australia, office workers in the northeastern city of Townsville had to be hosed down in their work clothes following a scare, and buildings in Melbourne were also evacuated.
Despite the increased number of alerts, so far there have been no positive cases of anthrax outside the United States.
 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gavin Hewitt
"The Anthrax outbreak today reached Capitol Hill"
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"The public, clearly, is quite nervous"
The BBC's Phillipa Thomas
reports that the letter has the same postmark as one sent to NBC news
See also:

15 Oct 01 | World
Anthrax fears shake world
15 Oct 01 | Health
Q&A: Anthrax
15 Oct 01 | Health
Britain 'prepared' for bioterror
25 May 01 | Americas
Profile: Thomas Daschle
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