Anthrax found at third NJ postal facility


Anthrax has been discovered at a third US postal facility in New Jersey, where one worker is already suspected of suffering from the skin form of the deadly disease, state officials said yesterday.

This week, public health officials said they suspected skin anthrax in a 54-year-old Delaware man employed at the Bellmawr facility, which distributes mail to 159 post offices in southern New Jersey and Delaware. If confirmed, he would be the state's first case from outside the Trenton area.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed five anthrax cases in New Jersey so far, four of them postal workers who handled mail from a regional facility near Trenton in Hamilton Township, where three anthrax-laden letters sent to Congress and the news media were processed.

The fifth case is a 51-year-old female accountant with skin anthrax who works at a private firm that receives its mail from the Hamilton facility. Anthrax spores were found on a mail bin in her office.

Public health officials believe the accountant and the Bellmawr worker both may have been infected by anthrax spores on mail that came in contact with contaminated letters in Hamilton, where anthrax has been found in 34 environmental samples.

A single colony of anthrax also has been discovered at the Princeton Main Post Office, one of 46 satellite facilities that receive mail from Hamilton.