Newspaper Quarantined in Anthrax Scare

Seven workers were taken to a hospital as a precaution and the rest were quarantined after a white powder was discovered in a letter sent to a newspaper. Health officials said it apparently was not anthrax (search).

John Telfer, editor of the of the Midland Daily News (search), opened the letter Tuesday morning, and police were called shortly after, the paper reported in a story on its Web site.

"I think this was a huge overreaction," Telfer said. "But this is the nature of the world in which we live."

Telfer described the substance as a white powder with the texture of flour. County health officials made a preliminary determination that the material was not anthrax. Further tests were being conducted.

The seven employees showed no signs of illness and were released from the hospital. A quarantine order for newspaper employees was lifted late Tuesday afternoon, said Ralph E. Wirtz, the newspaper's managing editor. He said the newspaper published as usual.

Police were investigating the source of the unsigned letter, which came in a small envelope with a typewritten address and return address.

Telfer's office remained off-limits as a crime scene, but the rest of the building was open for business Tuesday evening, Wirtz said.