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From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
January 23/30, 2002

Evaluation of Bacillus anthracis Contamination Inside the Brentwood Mail Processing and Distribution Center—District of Columbia, October 2001

JAMA. 2002;287(4):445-446. doi:10.1001/jama.287.4.445

MMWR. 2001;50:1129-1133

1 figure omitted.

During October 19-21, 2001, four postal workers at the Brentwood Mail Processing and Distribution Center in the District of Columbia were hospitalized with inhalational anthrax; two of the workers died. The building, which was closed on October 21, was believed to have been contaminated by a letter containing Bacillus anthracis spores sent to the Hart Senate Office Building (HSOB) that had passed through the postal facility on October 12. A second contaminated letter addressed to another U.S. senator that was processed through the same mail sorter and sort run as the first letter was discovered on November 17. This report describes the results of CDC's evaluation of B. anthracis in the facility, which showed widespread contamination of the facility and suggest that wipe samples and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum samples complement each other in assessing contamination.

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