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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 05:51 GMT
New case of anthrax in US
Anthrax testing at Baltimore-Washington International airport
Anthrax tests are continuing in many offices
US health officials in New Jersey say a female postal worker has been diagnosed with the most deadly kind of anthrax, the inhaled form of the disease.

She worked as a mail handler at the sorting office which processed the anthrax-contaminated letter sent earlier this month to Senator Tom Daschle.

Andrew Card
Card appealed for people to be careful

In Washington, the US Justice Department is the latest official building to suffer traces of anthrax.

The bacterium was discovered in an off-site mail-sorting office in Landover, Maryland, which handles post addressed to Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The White House says there could still be undiscovered letters containing anthrax in the American postal system.

President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, said: "There may be other letters that are stuck in the system... but we are working hard to make sure that any contamination is confined and we can deal with it.

"Our postal service and the FBI are working very hard to understand all they can and we are asking people to be very careful."

Mr Card, interviewed on American television, defended the government's handling of the anthrax outbreak, which has killed three people - two of them postal workers.

Many postal workers are angry at the government's response to the outbreak, saying there were delays in testing and treating staff after anthrax-laced letters surfaced.

"I think our government is working very well," Mr Card said. "This government is doing everything it can."

Improving condition

The latest person diagnosed with inhalation anthrax is a middle-aged woman who worked at a mail sorting centre in Hamilton, near the New Jersey state capital, Trenton.

Mailroom door at Senate is sealed
Mailrooms around the country are being sealed
Her condition is reported to be improving, five days after she first came under observation for suspected anthrax.

At least 11 other people have been infected with anthrax and thousands more have been tested or given antibiotics for the disease.

As well as sending mail to be sterilised in Ohio, the postal service is spending $40m on eight electron-beam devices to sanitise letters and packages. The equipment will be used first in Washington DC.

The bacteria has been found in 11 separate locations in the capital, including three Congressmen's offices.

An electron beam steriliser
Eight electron-beam devices will be used to sterilise mail
The US Supreme Court has shut its doors and the nine justices are taking the antibiotic doxycycline, which health officials are now dispensing in place of Ciprofloxacin, because it has fewer side effects.

Mr Card said authorities had so far been unable to identify the source of the anthrax, but suggested it had been developed in a sophisticated laboratory.

"This anthrax has been milled, it may have additives," he said.

FBI and CIA officials are now reported to believe the anthrax contamination is the work of extremists in the United States rather than terrorists abroad.

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The US Supreme Court building will be closed for the first time in its 66 year history"
The BBC's Nick Bryant
"More anthrax tainted letters could still be in the post"
The BBC's Steve Kingston in Washington
"The 56-year-old woman diagnosed with anthrax is improving"
See also:

28 Oct 01 | Americas
Latest US anthrax victim buried
27 Oct 01 | Americas
Anthrax found in Congress offices
26 Oct 01 | Americas
New anti-terror laws for US
25 Oct 01 | Americas
Cipro demand outstrips supply
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