Anthrax Spreads to CBS News: Feds Offer $1 Million Reward For Information
An assistant who opens mail for CBS News anchorman Dan Rather is one of the latest people to contract the skin form of anthrax. There have not been any more reports of CBS employees testing positive. But health officials spent hours scouring the building for more evidence of contamination.
As investigators continue to look for common threads among the handful of anthrax mail cases, they will now factor in two new cases of anthrax infection. The most recent a postal worker in New Jersey, and in New York, an assistant to Dan Rather--both diagnosed with the cutaneous or skin form of the disease.
"She is doing fine and feels great. She's on antibiotics and the prognosis is excellent," says CBS News President Andrew Heyward.
The source of the anthrax at CBS is not known, but handling Rather's mail was part of her job.
"We don't know the source of the infection but the police are looking into the mail theory," says Rather.
Unlike the reaction to the anthrax infection at NBC and Senator Tom Daschle's office in Washington, CBS did not evacuate the building, and there are no immediate plans for widespread testing.
Dr. Stephen Ostroff, chief epidemiologist at the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the pattern here was identical to that found in the other news organizations.
The letters received at NBC and the Senator's office were postmarked Trenton, New Jersey, and that is near where the infected postal employee works. As authorities continue to try and trace the steps taken to deliver the anthrax, the FBI appealed to the public with a $1 million reward for information.
"We hope the $1 million reward announced today will provide extra incentive to our citizens to help us solve these serious crimes," says Tom Pickard, deputy FBI director.
Investigators have also begun questioning some pharmacists in New Jersey to see if anybody purchased an unusual amount of the antibiotic Cipro before the anthrax attacks began.
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