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Brazil Denies Letter Sent From US Contains Anthrax

Brazilian health authorities say no anthrax was found in a suspicious letter sent from the United States to The New York Times newspaper correspondent in Rio de Janeiro. The newspaper says preliminary tests indicated the letter did contain anthrax.

The head of a Brazilian public health laboratory says the letter sent to the New York Times office in Rio de Janeiro does not contain the bacteria anthrax. Paulo Buss told reporters Saturday the lab carried out two extensive tests on the powder inside the letter, but both turned out negative.

The letter, postmarked October 5 and sent from New York, was addressed to the Times Rio correspondent, Larry Rohter, but had no return address. Suspicious, office personnel did not open the letter and turned it over to Brazilian health authorities.

In New York Friday, the newspaper said a preliminary test showed there were spores "consistent" with anthrax inside the envelope. But on Saturday, Mr. Buss dismissed this, saying he does not know where such information originated.

More than 20 cases of supposed anthrax contamination have been referred to the Brazilian public health laboratory during the past two weeks, but not one has proved to be anthrax.

So far, Argentina is the only South American nation to confirm a case of anthrax sent in a letter from the United States.