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Anthrax Letters

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Anthrax letter attacks of 2001 The Anthrax letters that where sent out after the 9/11 attacks, these letters where laced with anthrax and sent to different Americans the FBI code named this biological attack as “Amerithrax”. The anthrax-laced letters killed 5 Americans and made 17 people sick. The letters started showing up September 18, 2001 about one week after the September 11 attacks occurred. “From mid-September to November 2001, a number of anthrax-laced letters were mailed to news media offices on the U.S. east coast and to the U.S. Congress. A total of 22 individuals contracted either cutaneous anthrax (11 cases) or inhalation anthrax (11 cases), and 5 died (all from inhalation anthrax). Anthrax cases included individuals at targeted locations (9 cases), postal service employees (9 cases), individuals who handle cross-contaminated mail (2 cases), and individuals with unpinpointed exposures (2 cases). An additional case of cutaneous anthrax occurred in March 2002 due to laboratory exposure to collected samples.” (Johnson, 2005. P.1). One of the first victims of the anthrax letters was Robert Stevens who worked at the Sun he died four days after getting exposed to the anthrax, he went to a hospital with unknown symptoms that included vomiting and shortness of breath. Two other letters where sent to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The letter that went to Daschle was opened by an aid and after opening it the government postal service was closed. The other letter addressed to Leahy was never opened and it was found in an impounded mail bag around November. One of the reasons the letter took so long to find was that its zip code was misread but even with the misdirection the letter still contaminated David Hose through inhalation anthrax. Other letters where sent to ABC, CBS, New York Post and the National Enquirer in Boca Raton Florida, these letters where believed to have been mailed from Princeton, New Jersey around August 2001. The anthrax letters contained messages that are believed to have been coded with secret messages but that will never be verified as the person who was the main subject of the investigation committed suicide. “In August 2008, Department of Justice and FBI officials announced a breakthrough in the case showing that charges were about to be brought against Dr. Bruce Ivins, who took his own life before those charges could be filed. On February 19, 2010, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service formally concluded the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks and issued an Investigative Summary.” (FBI, 2010, p.1). Dr. Bruce Ivins was a United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. Dr. Ivins was the key suspect in the Anthrax letters, he died of an overdose of Tylenol with codeine after he found out he was the key suspect and charges where going to be brought against him.

References

Wm. Robert, Johnson. (2005). Review of fall 2001 anthrax bioattacks. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nas/RDRP/appendices/chapter6/a6-45.pdf

FBI. Famous Cases & Criminals. Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax

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