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Anthrax discovered in Russia

MOSCOW, Russia -- A "negligible" amount of anthrax has been discovered in a post bag received by the U.S. consulate in Yekaterinburg, Russia, a U.S. official has said.

The mail originated at the U.S. State Department in Washington, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow told CNN on Tuesday.

He said it was sent to the consulate in the Urals region of Russia, about 900 miles east of Moscow (1448 km), as part of a regular diplomatic delivery.

The test for anthrax proved positive 10 days ago as a result of routine testing of all post sent to U.S. consulates in Russia in the wake of anthrax discoveries in the United States, the spokesman said.

Staff at a Pakistani newspaper await results of tests on a suspicious letter containing a white powder. CNN's Sheila MacVicar reports (November 5)

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Only one employee came into contact with the mail and was taking antibiotics as a precaution against possible anthrax infection, the spokesman said.

No one has exhibited any symptoms of infection.

A consulate statement said: "The State Centre for Medical-Epidemiological Control in Yekaterinburg informed the consulate this morning that one of six unclassified diplomatic mailbags received from Washington D.C. and opened on October 25 had tested positive for anthrax spores.

"The source of the anthrax is not established, although the centre told us the spores were found inside the bag."

On Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said a clean-up of State Department mail facilities began over the weekend and overseas facilities had been advised on procedures for decontamination.

The discovery in Russia comes days after test results on a mail bag at the U.S. Embassy in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, proved positive for anthrax.

"The embassy has confirmed at least trace amounts of anthrax in one of the five mailbags" sent to the Microbiology Laboratory of the Vilnius Public Health Centre, embassy public affairs officer Michael Boyle told CNN on Friday.

All U.S. offices and embassies around the world that received mail from the Brentwood mail facility in Washington -- where two postal employees contracted inhalation anthrax and later died -- have been tested for anthrax.


• U.S. Postal Service
• U.S. Department of State
• Federal Bureau of Investigation

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