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Release Date: May 9, 2002

For immediate release

Mail processed in a secure facility outside the Federal Reserve Board buildings has tested positive for traces of anthrax DNA.

Routine preliminary tests, administered late Tuesday and Wednesday by Board and contract employees wearing protective environmental suits, detected anthrax spores in small batches of mail totaling about twenty pieces. The affected mail was routine commercial and business mail and did not have any of the characteristics identified by the FBI as suspicious.

The swabs that produced the positive readings will be sent to a laboratory for additional testing.

The source of the possible contamination is not known. Subsequent tests of mailroom surfaces and mail-distribution points within the Board's buildings have all been negative.

Board officials have notified, and are working with, the FBI and with U.S. Postal Service inspectors.

An anthrax trace found at the Board last December is believed to have been the result of cross-contamination. Extensive follow-up testing after that incident yielded no further positive results.

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Last update: May 9, 2002