Alarma de ántrax en el departamento de Defensa

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Tests conducted at mail facilities outside the Pentagon and at other locations around Washington are negative for the presence of anthrax, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday.
Dr. William Winkenwerder, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said those facilities could be reopened as early as Wednesday.
The alerts were triggered by tests on an air filter at a Pentagon remote mail facility. Preliminary test results earlier Tuesday indicated that a sample taken last Thursday tested positive for the bacteria, sources told CNN.
Further tests were being conducted at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and final results could come as early as Wednesday, Winkenwerder said.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon officials said that more than 60 initial tests on other locations at the Pentagon’s Remote Delivery Facility failed to find any evidence of anthrax contamination. In addition, they said, none of the 263 workers who have been tested show any symptoms of anthrax exposure.
A total of 166 U.S. Postal Service workers were given three-day dosages of the antibiotic Cipro after initial tests on air filters at a mail facility outside the Pentagon indicated the presence of anthrax.
The Pentagon said the alert was set off by a single routine test of an air filter Thursday that came back positive on Monday. That triggered the closure of the facility, along with several other mail-handling offices in the Washington area.
Under procedures adopted after anthrax attacks in 2001, the mail processed through the Pentagon’s remote facility is irradiated twice to kill biological agents, and then is quarantined for three days until the results of the air filter tests come back.
In this case, Pentagon officials said, a small number of the 8,000 pieces of mail that were supposed to be set aside were mistakenly sent to distribution points in the Pentagon, but those letters and packages «are in the process of being recovered,» one official said.
«There was a breakdown in the system,» one official told CNN, but he stressed that none of the pieces of mail had tested positive for anthrax.
Officials stressed that in this incident — unlike the 2001 attacks when contaminated letters were sent to media and government offices in Washington, Florida and elsewhere — there is no piece of suspect mail, nor has anyone become sick.
CNN’s Jamie McIntyre, Jeanne Meserve, Mike Ahlers and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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