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Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Jun;9(6):681-8.

Bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax in an elderly woman, Connecticut, 2001.

Author information

1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. kkg8@cdc.gov

Abstract

On November 20, 2001, inhalational anthrax was confirmed in an elderly woman from rural Connecticut. To determine her exposure source, we conducted an extensive epidemiologic, environmental, and laboratory investigation. Molecular subtyping showed that her isolate was indistinguishable from isolates associated with intentionally contaminated letters. No samples from her home or community yielded Bacillus anthracis, and she received no first-class letters from facilities known to have processed intentionally contaminated letters. Environmental sampling in the regional Connecticut postal facility yielded B. anthracis spores from 4 (31%) of 13 sorting machines. One extensively contaminated machine primarily processes bulk mail. A second machine that does final sorting of bulk mail for her zip code yielded B. anthracis on the column of bins for her carrier route. The evidence suggests she was exposed through a cross-contaminated bulk mail letter. Such cross-contamination of letters and postal facilities has implications for managing the response to future B. anthracis-contaminated mailings.

PMID:
12781007
PMCID:
PMC3000148
DOI:
10.3201/eid0906.020728
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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