INDIANAPOLIS – A small number of anthrax spores was found on a piece of postal equipment sent to an Indianapolis center for cleaning from a contaminated mail processing center in Washington.
Gov. Frank O'Bannon said Wednesday afternoon that one positive test for a few anthrax spores had been found after 44 tests on equipment at the Critical Parts Center.
This is the first sign of anthrax contamination found outside the Eastern Seaboard.
The anthrax exposure was very limited on the equipment that had been sent from Washington to the Indiana facility for cleaning, O'Bannon said.
"At this level of exposure anthrax is not a threat to human health in Indiana," he said. "It did not handle any Indiana mail, so there is absolutely no reason for Hoosiers to be alarmed."
O'Bannon said 103 people work at the facility, which does not process mail, and no signs of infections have been found.
The Critical Parts Center, owned by DDD Co. of Landover, Md., is near the Indianapolis International Airport. It was closed Oct. 23 and testing at the site was conducted Friday.
Indiana health commissioner Greg Wilson said the equipment was shipped from the Washington facility before any signs of anthrax were found there.
Two Brentwood employees have died of inhalation anthrax.
Wilson said state officials were never notified of any possible exposure.
"I am concerned however about the way the Postal Service handled this situation as far as notification," Wilson said. "They've known since last week that it was possible that machine was exposed, and that it was in Indiana."
The state health department on Friday advised the center's management to have their employees see physicians and start antibiotic treatments, Wilson said.