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Anthrax/Biological Agents

Recently there has been growing concern over the threat of biological terrorism in the United States. To date, the Nassau County Department of Health has not received any information suggesting a threat to Nassau County, and we at C.W. Post have no reason to believe that our campus would be a target. However, the Department of Health and the U.S. Postal Service have issued safety alerts and we feel that it is prudent to share their recommendations with the Campus community.

It is important to note that all non-interoffice mail is screened at the Greenvale Post Office before it arrives here on campus. In addition, many reports of suspicious packages and threats of biological terrorism prove to be hoaxes. Regardless of this, all suspicious envelopes, packages, and substances must be treated as though they pose a risk.

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  • addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.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. 2222 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 2222 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 2222 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 2222 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 2222 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 2222 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. 2214. If you have any health-related questions, call C.W. Post Student Health & Counseling Center at ext. 2345.