Trace amounts of anthrax have been discovered in five more Senate offices in the same building where a letter containing the bacteria was opened Oct. 15.
Capitol Police Lt. Dan Nichols said the latest findings were not unexpected. Police believe letters delivered to other offices in the Hart Senate Office Building may have been contaminated by the anthrax-filled letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.
Lt. Nichols said yesterday anthrax spores were found in the offices of Democratic Sens. Max Baucus of Montana; Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, and Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, as well as Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican.
All are in the same general area of the Hart building as Mr. Daschle’s offices.
Dr. John Eisold, the Capitol physician, said the trace amounts of anthrax pose no health risk, and no further testing or treatment is necessary for office workers or visitors.
Mr. Baucus’ spokesman Michael Siegel said, “We are extremely grateful for the quick action of Capitol Police and health officials.”
Mr. Siegel said all of Mr. Baucus’ staffers have remained on antibiotics they began taking when the letter was first discovered in Mr. Daschle’s office.
Specter spokesman Bill Reynolds said: “We haven’t been in the office since the initial closure. Everybody’s been tested, some are on antibiotics and some aren’t. But we’re fine.
“It’s really a non-issue as far as we’re concerned,” Mr. Reynolds added. “All of our people are safe and we’re just anticipating getting back to work in our offices.”
It was reported Saturday that trace amounts of anthrax had been found in the Hart building offices of Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican; Bob Graham, Florida Democrat; and Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat. Spores were also found in the offices of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, in the Longworth House Office Building.
Also Saturday, the Postal Service moved mail-processing operations from the District’s central mail-processing facility on Brentwood Road in Northeast to a location on V Street in Northeast.
Officials discovered the Brentwood facility which processed Mr. Daschle’s letter is so contaminated that it will probably take months to remove the anthrax. Two mail handlers at Brentwood died from inhaling anthrax.
The Postal Service had hoped to open a mail-sorting center in neighboring Prince George’s County, but County Executive Wayne Curry put a stop to it Wednesday.
Mr. Curry said he believed the facility was meant to be a decontamination center for mail addressed to Congress. Postal officials said that was not the case.