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Anthrax/Biological Agents

The U.S. Postal Service suggests that individuals should watch for mail/parcels that:

  • are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.
  • addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.
  • have no return address or have one that can't be verified as legitimate.
  • are of unusual weight, given their size or are lopsided or oddly shaped.
  • are marked with restrictive endorsements such as "Personal" or "Confidential".
  • have protruding wires, strange odors or stains.
  • show a city or state in the postmark that doesn't match the return address.

What should I do if I've received a suspicious parcel in the mail?

  • Do not try to open the parcel!
  • Isolate the parcel.
  • Evacuate the immediate area surrounding the parcel.
  • Call Public Safety at ext. 1078 or 55 to report that you've received a parcel in the mail that may contain biological or chemical substances.

Other Safety Measures:

  1. If you receive an envelope that appears to be empty:

    • Place the envelope in plastic bag.
    • Do not pass the envelope to others for inspection.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water.
    • Call Public Safety at extension 1078 or 55 and notify your supervisor.
    • If you receive an envelope containing powder, and the powder spills out onto surface:
    • Do not clean up the powder. Keep others away.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water.
    • Do not try to brush the powder off of your clothes.
    • Avoid contact with others.
    • Call Public Safety at extension 1078 or 55 and notify your supervisor.
    • If possible, shut down any fans or air ventilation systems.
    • Leave the room and close the door, or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
    • Remove clothing and place in a plastic bag as soon as possible.
    • Shower with soap and water as soon as possible. Do not use bleach or other disinfectants.
    • Put on fresh clothing.
    • Make a list of all people who had contact with the powder and give list to Public Safety.

  2. Package marked with threatening message such as "ANTHRAX":

    • Do not open it.
    • Leave it and evacuate the room.
    • Call Public Safety at extension 1078 or 55 and notify your supervisor.
    • Do not allow others into the area.

  3. Aerosolization, small explosion, or letter stating "Anthrax in Heating System":

    • Leave the room immediately.
    • Secure the entry way.
    • Call Public Safety at extension 1078 (add prefix 488 when using outside line) or 55 and notify your supervisor.
    • Do not allow others into the area.
    • If possible, shut down any fans or air ventilation systems.
    • Remain on the premises until Public Safety arrives.
    • Make a list of all people who were in the area at the time and give it to Public Safety.

  4. A threat by telephone:

    • Do not argue with or antagonize the caller.
    • Listen carefully so that you can recall the details later. Listen for background noises.
    • Call Public Safety at extension 1078 (add prefix 488 when using outside line) or 55 and notify your supervisor.

Facts about Anthrax:

  • Anthrax organisms can cause skin infection, gastrointestinal infection, or pulmonary (lung) infection.
  • To cause an infection, it must be rubbed into abraded skin, swallowed, or inhaled.
  • Disease can be prevented after exposure to Anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics.
  • Anthrax is not spread from one person to another.

If you have any non-emergency questions related to this Safety Advisory, please feel free to call Public Safety at ext. 1078 (add prefix 488 when using outside line). If you have any health-related questions, call Brooklyn Campus Student Health Services ext. 6450.