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FOR RELEASE: October 25, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Media Advisory:
Bioterrorism and Anthrax Issues

Bioterrorism and Anthrax Daily Update 10/25/01:

  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health is investigating a situation at the U.S. Postal Service Maintenance Technical Support Center (MTSC), 600 Rock Creek Road, Norman. This facility provides technical support for maintenance of buildings and equipment for the U.S. Postal Service. Yesterday, the Norman facility determined that it had received parts from postal machines from Washington, D.C. and Trenton, N.J. postal facilities where anthrax has been identified. Due to the possibility that these parts may have been exposed to anthrax spores while at those facilities, containers and parts were isolated in a sealed room at the Norman MTSC. About 25 of the 200 employees who work at the MTSC handled or worked in the area where the boxes with these parts were located. None of these employees have exhibited any symptoms of anthrax disease. After touring the facility this morning, state health officials determined that the employees were at very low risk for exposure. The U.S. Postal Service is offering testing through Norman Regional Hospital for all employees. They will be offered an antibiotic and antibiotics have been recommended for those 25 employees who handled the parts or worked in the area where they were stored. Environmental testing by a contractor for the MTSC will begin tomorrow. It is important to note that these parts were sent to the Norman MTSC for warranty determination and were not used for any mail sorting in Oklahoma.
  • As of 11 a.m. this morning, the Public Health Laboratory of the Oklahoma State Department of Health had performed testing on 259 environmental samples for the presence of anthrax or biologic agents. All have tested negative for biologic contamination.

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