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American Media Workers, Visitors to Undergo Second Anthrax Test

Aired October 15, 2001 - 13:39   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Mark Potter is in Boca, Raton, Florida. Now, Mark is working on the Florida anthrax investigation. And he joins us with more now -- Mark, good afternoon.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Aaron.

Well, the story here is mostly about testing on various levels. The workers here in the building at American Media Incorporated in Boca Raton are being asked now to take a second blood test. They took their first test last week, along with nasal swabs. We see pictures here of the long lines at the health department near this area, where as many as 1,000 people came in for testing. About 300 or so were actually given blood tests on top of the nasal swabs.

Sources tell CNN that five workers were found to be, in the words of the CDC officials, mildly reactive to tests for anthrax antibodies. But the officials warn that these tests are preliminary. They are certainly not conclusive. And they could be negated by subsequent testing.

Officials say that two blood tests are always required for this kind of inquiry. So the second test that we are hearing about is not unusual. They will begin Wednesday or Thursday of this week. And we are also warned by the CDC that even both tests together may not be fully conclusive or fully diagnostic.

Earlier in this case, we remind people, there were false positives in other tests that later turned out to be negative, with subsequent lab analysis. So, right now, the CDC says there are still only three cases here officially in this area: one involving the man, Robert Stevens, who died of anthrax, and two others who were exposed.

Now, the FBI is continuing its investigation. Over the weekend, it was awaiting lab results on the samples that the agents took here in the building behind me, the swabs and the samples that went in for analysis. When those tests come back, that will be critical to this investigation because it will help agents determine where next to go in the investigation.

And old-fashioned detective work also on under way on top of the high-tech science stuff. They are talking to individuals here one at a time; 800 people, workers and visitors to this building, are being interviewed by agents, extra agents who were brought in over the weekend.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Mark, I'm going to interrupt you here. I'm sorry. I'm going to interrupt you here for a moment.

(INTERRUPTED FOR BREAKING NEWS)

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