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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Anthrax in Brooklyn?

City officials say a Manhattan resident has been hospitalized after he was accidentally exposed to inhalation anthrax while working with animal skins in Brooklyn, but investigators say there is no evidence the exposure has anything to do with terrorism. In a press conference at City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the unidentified 44-year-old man became ill last Thursday, February 16th, during a trip to Pennsylvania. The man was hospitalized in the town of Sayre, where doctors diagnosed the inhalation anthrax exposure and traced it back to New York City. The victim is now recovering in a hospital in Sayre, where he is in an Intensive Care Unit listed in fair condition. Investigators believe the man, who made African drums, was exposed to the anthrax after he worked with unprocessed cow and goat hides that he had purchased on a visit to the Ivory Coast in Africa in December. The city says the man told investigators he worked with the animal skins in the days prior to his trip to Pennsylvania. Anthrax is a potentially deadly agent that naturally occurs in animals. As a result of the exposure, the Department of Health has quarantined the man’s work and storage area, and his car, in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, as well as his residence in the West Village. The DOH also says three people who may have worked with the same animal hides are being treated with antibiotics as a precaution. In the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, letters laced with anthrax were discovered in several locations around the country, including in New York City. The attacks, which remain unsolved, killed five people and sickened 17.

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