HOW THE ANTHRAX CASES UNFOLDED



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Last Updated

15 Nov 2002

Source: New York Times, December 26, 2001.

A CHRONOLOGY

How the Cases Unfolded

Oct. 1

CBS news aide Claire Fletcher, 27, develops two small facial pimples; over next 24 hours, has facial swelling, nausea. Takes antibiotics on Oct. 4;. confirmed cutaneous Oct. 18. Recovered.

Oct. 4

Mr. Stevens’s anthrax confirmed. Eight other cases in New Jersey, New York and Florida are not yet known.

Oct. 5

Mr. Stevens dies in the hospital.

Oct. 7

American Media building in Florida closed after anthrax spores found on Mr. Stevens’s computer keyboard.

Oct. 9

Anthrax-laced letters postmarked Trenton, for Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick J. Leahy. Letters apparently infect at least nine Washington and New Jersey postal workers. Two die.

Oct. 12

Ms. O’Connor, NBC news aide, is confirmed to have cutaneous anthrax, the first case outside Florida. Same day, investigators discover anthrax-laced letter sent to NBC from Trenton, postmarked Sept. 18. Following her confirmation, cases at ABC, CBS, New York Post confirmed.

Oct. 13

An unidentified 54-year-old Delaware resident who works at Bellmawr, N.J., postal sorting center, develops lesion on left hand; listed as suspected cutaneous case Oct. 31.

Oct. 14

Norma Wallace, 56, postal worker at Hamilton, N.J., develops nausea. She was hospitalized Oct. 19; listed as suspected case Oct. 23, New Jersey’s first inhalation case. Discharged from hospital Nov. 5. Recovering.

Patrick Daniel O’Donnell, 35 of Bucks County, Pa., Hamilton postal worker has strange red marks on neck, swelling later causing breathing difficulty; his neck ultimately expanding to 26 inches. Visits doctor Oct. 15; admitted to the hospital Oct. 16. Case confirmed Oct. 19. Recovered.

Oct. 15

Aide to Senator Daschle opens anthrax-contaminated letter. Capitol Hill staff immediately given antibiotics; none infected. Postal workers not given antibiotics as risk to them is unrecognized.

A 43-year-old mail sorter in New Jersey develops intermittent fevers, chills, dry cough. Visits doctor Oct. 16, hospitalized Oct. 18, discharged from the hospital on Oct. 23. Case listed as suspected inhalational anthrax Oct. 25. Recovering.
Mr. Blanco, American Media mailroom worker, confirmed inhalation anthrax.

Oct. 16

Twelve Senate offices are closed, hundreds of people at the Senate are tested. No one has onset of disease. But four Washington postal workers fall ill. Leroy Richmond, 56, of Stafford County, Va., a sorter at the Brentwood mail center in Washington, develops low-grade fever, chills, sore throat. Hospitalized Oct. 19. Inhalation anthrax is confirmed the next day. Released Nov. 19. Recovering.

A 56-year-old postal worker notices mild headache, stiff neck. Admitted to hospital Oct. 20; discharged Nov. 9. Inhalation anthrax case is quickly confirmed. Recovering.

Thomas Morris Jr., 55, postal employee becomes ill, with fever, cough, chest discomfort. Arrives at hospital Oct. 21. Dies same day, with his inhalation anthrax confirmed after his death.

Joseph Curseen, 47, postal employee becomes ill with stomach cramps, nausea, cough. Seeks medical care Oct. 21; and dies the next day. Inhalation anthrax confirmed after his death.

Oct. 17

Linda Burch, 51-year-old bookkeeper at Hamilton-area firm, develops large pimple on her forehead. Admitted to hospital Oct. 22 and cutaneous anthrax confirmed Oct. 29, two days after she is discharged from hospital.

Oct. 18

Teresa Heller, West Trenton letter carrier, and Richard Morgano, Hamilton postal worker, listed as confirmed or suspected cutaneous anthrax cases. They are the first known New Jersey cases and first known postal cases in the United States.
Postal service’s Hamilton distribution center closed, hundreds of workers given antibiotics, almost a month after the first worker there was infected. Ms. Fletcher, the CBS news aide, is confirmed as positive for cutaneous anthrax.

Oct. 19

Ms. Huden, of The New York Post, confirmed with cutaneous anthrax. Anthrax-laced letter postmarked Sept. 18 is found, although it was never opened, just stored near where Ms. Huden worked.

Unidentified 34-year-old New York Post mail room worker notices pimple on left arm. He had moved the anthrax letter Oct. 12, as a precaution after the NBC case was announced. Listed suspected cutaneous anthrax Oct. 27. Recovering.

Patrick O’Donnell, New Jersey postal worker, is confirmed with cutaneous anthrax.

Oct. 20

Washington officials announce that Mr. Richmond is seriously ill with anthrax and others are being tested, the first recognition by the government that Washington area postal workers are at risk, almost a month after the first postal worker fell ill.

Oct. 21

Mr. Morris, a postal worker, dies of inhalation anthrax on the same day he arrives at the hospital. The Brentwood center is closed, and several thousand postal workers there are given anthtibiotics.
Hamilton Township, N.J., postal distribution center samples test positive, hundreds of workers given nasal swab tests.

Oct. 22

Mr. Curseen, another postal worker, after having been turned away from a hospital the day before, returns to hospital, this time by ambulance; admitted but dies within six hours.

A 59-year-old contract postal employee at State Department mail sorting facility becomes ill, hospitalized Oct. 25, inhalation case immediately confirmed. Recovering.

Oct. 23

New Jersey officials tentatively announce that Ms. Wallace, a postal employee, has inhalation anthrax. Inhalation cases now confirmed in Florida, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Mr. Blanco is released from the hospital.

Thousands of Manhattan postal workers given antibiotics; none get ill.

Oct. 24

Mark Cunningham, 38, a New York Post editorial page editor, has a pimple on his forehead, had handled box of unopened letters around Oct. 12. Not diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax until Nov. 2. Recovered.

New York Post mail room worker, 34, listed with suspected cutaneous anthrax.

Casey Chamberlain, 23, NBC desk assistant, listed as "suspicious or probably case" of cutaneous anthrax

Oct. 25

Kathy T. Nguyen, 61, of the Bronx, an employee at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, falls ill; goes to emergency room Oct. 28 awake and alert; she quickly declines and dies Oct. 31.

Anthrax spores found at Morgan postal center in Manhattan.

The C.D.C. lists as suspected inhalation case the 43-year-old postal worker from New Jersey.

Oct. 29

Ms. Nguyen’ s case confirmed; Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital closed; hundreds of employees and patients tested starting the next day.

Ms. Burch, of Hamilton Township, is confirmed cutaneous anthrax case. Mail bin at her office is later found to have anthrax spores, probably the result of mail that had merely touched the Daschle or Leahy letters. Recovered.

Oct. 31

An unidentified 54-year-old Delaware resident, who works in a New Jersey postal center, listed as suspected cutaneous anthrax case.

Ms. Nguyen dies.

* Ages given are at time of onset of conditions.

Sources: Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; New Jersey, Connecticut and New York City health departments; victim interviews