- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 8, 2003


The U.S. Postal Service has reopened 11 Washington-area post offices that had been shuttered as a precaution after tests at a naval mail-sorting office indicated the possible presence of anthrax spores. Follow-up tests were negative for anthrax.

“Everything’s back to normal,” said Jim Quirk, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

Two of the 11 post offices reopened Friday night, and the other nine resumed business as usual yesterday morning.

The facilities were closed Thursday after an automated alarm and a follow-up test indicated the presence of small amounts of biological pathogens, possibly anthrax, at the Anacostia Naval Station, which handles mail for federal agencies.

Officials then conducted a series of tests, which turned up no traces of anthrax. Results from a final round of tests yesterday also were negative, said Navy spokesman Ed Zeigler.

Officials have found no contaminated mail.

Five workers at the Navy site were offered the antibiotic ciprofloxacin as a precaution recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr. Zeigler said.

Preliminary tests for anthrax exposure often are inaccurate. Several false alarms have temporarily disrupted business since the still-unsolved anthrax-laced letter attacks in 2001.

The anthrax-by-mail incidents in late 2001 showed that inhaling only a few spores, in some cases, was enough to infect some people with the deadly disease.

Five persons died in those attacks, which also forced the shutdown and cleanup of postal and other types of facilities in the District and elsewhere.

The 11 post offices that reopened yesterday:

• V Street Facility, 3000 block V St. NE 20098-9998

• Southwest Post Office, 45 L St. SW 20024-9998

• Ward Place Post Office, 2121 Ward Place NW 20037-9998

• Friendship Station Post Office, 4005 Wisconsin Ave. NW 20016-9998

• Andrews Air Force Base, 1668 D St., Andrews AFB, Md. 20762-9998

• Silver Spring, 8616 Second Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20910-9998

• Calvert Distribution Center, 6511 Baltimore Ave., West Hyattsville, Md. 20783-9998

• Westlake Post Office, 10421 Motor City Drive, Bethesda, Md. 20817-9998

• South Station Post Office, 1210 S. Glebe Road, Arlington, Va. 22204-9998

• Eads Street Station, 1720 S. Eads St., Arlington, Va. 22202-9998

• Buckingham Station, 235 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Va. 22203-9998

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