Anthrax in the Heartland? : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

NBC news reported last night that a US Postal Service repair facility where equipment from the Brentwood post office was repaired is now testing positive for anthrax. Brentwood is the facility in Washington where 2 employees died from inhalation anthrax. The repair facility on the news last night is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. It's about 3 miles from my house. So far local officials have been denying the reports, but the shop has been closed since last week for testing. Even though I'm a scientist and I know how anthrax is supposed to work, I still have this very uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I wonder if we'll have any trick or treaters at our house tonight of if this latest news will keep everyone indoors.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001


Yikes Sherri, had not heard that. I sure wish they could get AHEAD of this instead of two or three days BEHIND it. I am beginning to wonder just how long this anthrax has been around. It seems that the people that are developing symptoms and dying from the inhalation form are all older. Perhaps many others have it cooking deep down in their lungs but are healthy enough otherwise to not be showing symptoms??? You have more knowledge about this than I do, could these spores be incapsulated like TB is and waiting for the host to be weakened before it "breaks out"??? I MUST get myself better educated. This sort of thing was just not part of my nurse's training.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

"The Capitol mail from those few days has been shipped to Ohio for sanitizing, Potter told the Government Reform Committee, and will be examined when it gets back to D.C."

Sherri, just got this out of an article posted on the "current news" forum running on this server. Could this be what is going on???

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

I double checked with my frined Karen because she's a better microbiologist than I am. Anthrax isn't thought to encapsulate in the lungs like TB does. TB is a difficult organism for your body to fight against. If your body can't successfully kill the TB it walls off the infected areas as a protective measure. Bacillus anthracis is much easier for your body to kill. The organism is inhaled as a spore, once the spore hits the warm and moist conditions in the lungs it begins to grow. At that point either your immune system fights it and you get better (with the help of antibiotics) or else you can't fight it off and you die. It doesn't go into hiding in your lungs for months or years like TB can. You are right, the people who have died so far have been older, the one survivor of pulmonary anthrax was a young woman. Here's another good reason to drink those 8-10 glasses of water a day: it helps keep your pulmonary secretions flowing in your lungs, which keeps a good supply of immune cells and antibodies in the area.

What's allegedly going on here in Indy is different from the mail being sent to Ohio to be irradiated. There is a company here that contracts with the post office to repair their mail sorting and processing equipment. They get machines from all over the US to repair. It has been established that they did receive equipment from the Brentwood post office in Washington DC, but nobody's saying if the equipment was shipped here before or after the "hot" letters are thought to have passed through Brentwood. So far NBC is the only place reporting the story. The local paper says that the FBI and postal officials are denying the story; the facility has been closed since last Wednesday for testing but the test results aren't due back until at least tomorrow. Let's hope it's just a false alarm.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

I see that they are "owning" the story now Sherri. Heard it on PBS this evening. What they didn't tell us was just when the piece of equipment was send to the repair facility.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

Thanks for the education guys! Don't ya get the feeling once we get a handle on this one they'll throw something else at us? Guess thats the thing about terrorism. find a weakness and exploit it while everyone is not looking. scary huh?.....kirk

-- Anonymous, October 31, 2001

This whole thing has me very irritated. Indiana has an excellent bioterrorism plan already in place, other states are using it as a model. However in this case the US Postal Service swooped in, locked everything down, and didn't tell anyone. They sent the samples to a private lab in Atlanta for testing rather than going through the proper channels here in our state. The only indication that something was going on was last Friday the owner of the company under investigation called the State Board of Health to find out about getting Cipro for all of his employees. The Postal Service insists that the proper authorities were notified, but our Governor, the Mayor of Indianapolis, the Chief of the State Board of Health, and the head of the Bioterrorism Response Team only found out about it by watching NBC News like the rest of us.

Now I'm hearing that they've found cross-contaminated mail in Kansas City.

-- Anonymous, November 01, 2001

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