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US Congress Convenes Despite Anthrax Scare - 2001-10-23


Both Houses of the U.S. Congress meet for regular sessions later Tuesday despite the anthrax scare. The U.S. Capitol building will open, but the office buildings of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate will remain closed for further testing and cleaning.

Some 28 congressional workers have tested positive for exposure to anthrax since spores were first discovered last week in a letter to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. Most of the exposed workers were on the Senator's staff.

Anthrax also has hit the capital area's postal service, which handles congressional mail. Two Washington area postal workers are believed to have died of anthrax and two others are being treated for inhalation anthrax.

Washington's two mail handling facilities are closed and more than 2,000 postal workers are undergoing treatment to ward off the disease.

U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said Monday mail delivery will continue despite the anthrax attacks and he said the government will take every step to ensure mail is safe.

The U.S. Postmaster General says new technology will soon be installed to - in his words - "sanitize" mail that goes through the U.S. system. He also said U.S. mail and postal employees have become the target of terrorists.

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