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Egypt Takes Precautions Against Anthrax - 2001-10-22


The anthrax scare gripping the United States and spreading to other countries has led several governments to take precautions. In Egypt, authorities have distributed gloves and masks to postal employees to protect them against the disease, which in the United States has been linked to contaminated letters.

Egypt's postal service is taking no chances with its employees. Samia Giris is the vice chairman of the Cairo Post Office: "For our employees to be safe, they wear gloves and masks, and they can detect, by hand, if there is any suspicion about a letter," she said. "If there is suspicion, they take it away. They put it in a plastic bag and send it to the specialist to examine them. But, until now, we have no cases, not a case, in Cairo."

Packages in Egypt are examined by a postal employee before they are sealed and mailed.

Before a package is delivered, it is put through a metal detector and examined by bomb-sniffing dogs. A postal employee then checks the contents in the presence of the recipient.

Ms. Girgis says the added precautions have not affected Egypt's mail deliveries, which remain on schedule. She says Egyptian postal workers will continue to wear gloves and masks as long as U.S. postal workers continue to do so.

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