Federal officials investigating an outbreak of anthrax exposure in Boca Raton, Florida say the potentially-lethal bacterium appears to be contained, at least for now.
FBI Special Agent Hector Pesquera had good news to report at a news conference late Friday. He said test results of more than 1,000 newspaper workers and support staff show no new cases of anthrax exposure. And, according to Agent Pesquera, the bacterium has not been detected outside newspaper's building, which has been closed for nearly a week. "We have not found any evidence of the bacterium outside of this location," he said. "More than 1,000 individuals have been tested for possible exposure. And as of today, we are very happy to report that 965 of those results are back, and we only have one exposure."
That one exposure is Stephanie Dailey, the third person to test positive for anthrax. To date, one newspaper worker has died of anthrax, while Ms. Dailey and another employee are receiving antibiotics and are fully expected to live.
At the news conference, reporters repeatedly asked Mr. Pesquera about any possible connection between the Florida anthrax occurrence and a newly-reported case at a television network in New York. According to the special agent said it is too early to tell. "At this juncture of the investigation, we have no information whatsoever that correlates what we have got here [in Florida] with what New York has, and we have no information indicating that this is a terrorist action," he said.
The focus of the Florida anthrax investigation is shifting to postal workers, after newspaper executives said a mysterious letter containing a powdery substance was received weeks ago. Florida postal supervisors say they are taking additional safety steps in handling the mail and will set aside any suspicious packages or letters they encounter.