FOR RELEASE: October 29, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
Bioterrorism and Anthrax Issues
Bioterrorism and Anthrax Daily Update 10/29/01:
- Staff from the Oklahoma State Department of Health were on site at the U.S. Postal Service Maintenance Technical Support Center (MTSC) in Norman over the weekend to accompany a contractor hired to do an environmental assessment of the facility. Officials determined the environmental assessment was necessary because the MTSC had received parts from postal machines from the Washington, D.C. and Trenton, N.J. facilities where anthrax has been identified. Results from the environmental sampling should be available by mid-week. Norman Regional Hospital reports that 123 MTSC employees who were tested for anthrax exposure have tested negative.
- As of 10 a.m. today, the Public Health Laboratory of the Oklahoma State Department of Health had performed testing on 330 environmental samples for the presence of anthrax or other biologic agents. All have tested negative for biologic contamination. State health officials continue to encourage Oklahomans to consider that if some items appear suspicious but not threatening, like a boot or a bag of potatoes submitted for testing recently, then persons should simply use the "when in doubt, throw it out" rule.
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health joins with other state and federal agencies to suggest parents use the normal amount of caution they would always follow in determining how their children celebrate Halloween this year. As in past years, parents should consider allowing their children to trick-or-treat only close neighbors, family and friends. CDC has a Halloween safety checklist online at http://www.cdc.gov/safeusa/halloween.htm. The state health department's Public Health Laboratory will not be available to test Halloween candy for the presence of anthrax or other biologic agents.
- Check out the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Web site for more information concerning anthrax and other biological agents: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/anthrax/anthrax.htm.