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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 13:59 GMT
Anthrax hits US consulate in Russia
The consulate staff have been given antibiotics
American officials say anthrax has been found in mail sent to their consulate in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

The letter was sent from Washington.

The news came only hours after it was confirmed that an envelope sent to the US mission in the Pakistani city of Lahore contained anthrax, the third such discovery in Pakistan.

This brings to four the number of US diplomatic missions that have been the target of anthrax attacks.

Antibiotics taken

"Consulate officials (in Yekaterinburg) were informed today that a State Department mail bag confirmed positive for anthrax," an American embassy spokesman in Moscow said on Tuesday.

The mail bag was part of America's standard diplomatic mail service within Russia, officials say.

The consulate staff in Yekaterinburg, the capital of Russia's Ural Mountains region, have now been put on antibiotics.

Earlier on Tuesday, the US embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, confirmed that an envelope sent to its Lahore consulate last week had tested positive for anthrax.

Anthrax spores
Anthrax has been found in four US diplomatic missions

These add to the attacks on the American embassies in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Lima, Peru.

The white powder in the Lahore envelope is now being sent to the United States for further testing.

US officials say the envelope had a local postmark, although this was unreadable.

The consulate was prepared for such an eventuality.

The envelope was opened by a worker wearing a protective mask and gloves who was put on antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

None of the staff has shown any symptoms of anthrax.

Officials puzzled

On Friday the largest selling newspaper in Pakistan, the Daily Jang, confirmed it had also received anthrax spores in a hand-delivered envelope.

Some staff members were put on antibiotics, and the editorial offices were decontaminated.

The government had said there was another earlier confirmed case where anthrax was sent through the post to a computer company.

Pakistani Government officials are still investigating the cases and say they still have no clear idea who could be responsible.

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt reports from Moscow
"The amount of spores found were negligible"
See also:

01 Nov 01 | Europe
Anthrax in Lithuania US embassy
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