About this item:

34 Views | 14 Downloads

Author Notes:

Address for correspondence: Anne Schuchat, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop C23, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; fax: 404-639-3970; e-mail: acs1@cdc.gov

We thank employees from the Washington, D.C., Processing and Distribution Center, the United States Postal Service, the Washington, D.C. Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland State Laboratory, the Virginia Department of Health, the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, and Jay Devasundaram, Environmental Systems Research, Inc.



  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

Inhalational anthrax outbreak among postal workers, Washington, DC, 2001

Show all authors Show less authors


Journal Title:

Emerging Infectious Disease


Volume 8, Number 10


, Pages 1066-1072

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


In October 2001, four cases of inhalational anthrax occurred in workers in a Washington, D.C., mail facility that processed envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores. We reviewed the envelopes' paths and obtained exposure histories and nasal swab cultures from postal workers. Environmental sampling was performed. A sample of employees was assessed for antibody concentrations to B. anthracis protective antigen. Case-patients worked on nonoverlapping shifts throughout the facility, suggesting multiple aerosolization events. Environmental sampling showed diffuse contamination of the facility. Potential workplace exposures were similar for the case-patients and the sample of workers. All nasal swab cultures and serum antibody tests were negative. Available tools could not identify subgroups of employees at higher risk for exposure or disease. Prophylaxis was necessary for all employees. To protect postal workers against bioterrorism, measures to reduce the risk of occupational exposure are necessary.

Copyright information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2002

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Export to EndNote