Michigan Department of Community Health Testing Update--Troy locations can re-open

October 11, 2001

Michigan Department of Community Health Chief Medical Executive, David R. Johnson, M.D., today announced that further testing on samples of questionable substances from two locations in Troy still show no evidence of anthrax or anthrax spores.

"From a public health perspective, we assess that it is safe to re-enter the buildings and re-open them for business," said Dr. Johnson. "We are making no recommendations for special cleaning of these buildings. We encourage individuals to resume their normal operations there."

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Community Health laboratory received samples from two locations in Troy and one location in Sterling Heights for testing of questionable substances. Finding no material to test on the sample from Sterling Heights, that location was re-opened on Wednesday.

Under visual and microscopic examination, the questionable substances submitted for testing from the Troy locations appear to be some form of dust.

It is extremely important for all Michigan citizens to proceed with reasonable precautions and not panic when opening mail and packages. If citizens have a concern about a letter or package because it contains either a threatening note or a large quantity of a powdery substance they should:
-- Leave the letter or package where it is
-- Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water
-- From another location contact local law enforcement

"If a person has a concern about a letter or package because of a threatening note or large quantity of powdery substance, local law enforcement would then contact the FBI. Together they would then assess the situation to determine if there is a credible threat and how to best proceed," said Dr. Johnson.

Anthrax exposure through the mail is extremely unlikely and symptoms of anthrax do not develop in a matter of hours. Even if someone has found a letter or package with a threatening note or large quantity of powdery substance, in the absence of illness there is no need to go directly to the hospital for anthrax treatment or testing. When someone who has found a letter or package with a threatening note or large quantity of powdery substance properly contacts local law enforcement, public health authorities will then be able to notify individuals if exposure has been confirmed and treatment is required.