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Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 19:00 GMT
US anthrax woman dies
A health worker at the Senate Hart Office Building
There was another scare at the US Senate this week
A 94-year-old woman from Connecticut has died from inhalation anthrax - the deadliest form of the disease.

She becomes the fifth person in the United States to die from anthrax since September.

94-year-old Ottilie Lundgren
Ottilie Lundgren rarely went out
Authorities are baffled as to how Ottilie Lundgren, who lived in a small rural community and rarely went out, contracted the disease. She was admitted on Friday with symptoms akin to pneumonia.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the case after she tested positive for the disease in five separate tests carried out by the local health authorities.

Baffled

The north-east US state's governor, John Rowland, said: "It's difficult to explain how the person contracted anthrax."

"There is no evidence (she) contracted the disease as a result of a criminal act," he added.


With terrorism and things that have happened lately, you expect New York to be a target. But Oxford? I can't explain it and I'm very scared

Jodi McCue, neighbour
Mr Rowland said authorities had checked the local post office for anthrax spores but found no trace.

The woman - the first new anthrax case in three weeks - lived in Oxford, about 30 miles (48 kilometres) southwest of the state capital, Hartford.

The previous victims of anthrax were a hospital worker in New York City, two postal workers in Washington and a photo-journalist in Florida.

Chile alert

There has also been another anthrax alert outside America. Authorities in Chile said on Tuesday they have found anthrax spores in a letter sent from abroad to a private business in the capital, Santiago.

Chilean Health Minister Michelle Bachelet
Chilean Health Minister Bachelet: The 13 people who were exposed are on antibiotics
And investigators have found traces of anthrax in two more US lawmakers' offices - those of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

All of those infected so far - 13 people, along with the five who have died, have been associated with the mail, the media or Capitol Hill, except for the New York hospital worker, Kathy Nguyen.

Domestic source

The BBC's correspondent in Washington, Rob Watson, says the US authorities had been hoping the outbreak of anthrax infections was over, despite their total failure so far to track down whoever is responsible for the attacks.

The disease can be spread by hoofed animals, although they rarely carry it in western Europe and the US.

This week's other apparent targets are more typical of the pattern which has so far emerged in the American anthrax cases.

A weekend environmental sweep of the Senate Russell Office Building in Washington found trace amounts of anthrax in the offices of Senators Kennedy and Dodd.

The investigation was ordered after a letter to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy was discovered on Friday.

This letter raised to more than a dozen the number of Senate suites found with trace amounts of the bacteria.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has indicated that authorities believe that the anthrax is comes from a domestic, rather than an international, source .

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rob Watson
"The 94-year-old woman is now the fifth person to die from anthrax"
Benjamin Rudolph, Biotechnology expert
"It again strikes fear into the hearts of every American"
See also:

21 Nov 01 | Americas
US warns bio-terror 'cure' websites
20 Nov 01 | Americas
Anthrax alert spreads to Chile
11 Nov 01 | Americas
Anthrax found in more Senate offices
04 Nov 01 | Americas
Anthrax cases baffle investigators
01 Nov 01 | Americas
Anthrax kills fourth American
31 Oct 01 | Americas
Cost of anthrax attacks 'surges'
27 Oct 01 | Americas
Anthrax found in Congress offices
30 Oct 01 | Americas
Q&A: The anthrax mystery
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