Initial results say Oracle employee anthrax-free

Preliminary test results were negative Thursday for a part-time Oracle employee who was tested Monday night for anthrax; final results should be available today, doctors said.

The Oracle office where an envelope containing a white, powdery substance was opened sometime last week, was tested Thursday for any remaining residue.

Testing the room was a safety precaution The Oracle staff insisted should be taken. Photo Editor Andres Asturias said he was glad it was.

“I kinda felt like what needed to be done was done,” he said. “And even though we were pretty sure it was nothing, it was good to hear that the university took the right steps.”

According to Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management, the department that tested the room, results should be available early next week.

“The collected samples were delivered to the Health Department laboratory, and upon receipt, the results of the analysis will be forwarded to you,” said a memo to The Oracle from Terry Dowdy, director for Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management. “It should be noted that no additional residue or suspicious conditions were found.”

Doctors said since nothing has grown in the culture from the employee’s tests after 48 hours, things shouldn’t change after 72 hours.

The employee, who is not a student, said she opened a letter sometime last week that contained a white, powdery substance. After opening the letter, she said she put it in the trash without touching it or smelling it.

The employee said she had not been watching the news recently, and when she learned more about the anthrax scare across the nation late Monday night, she called her supervisor.

At least three Oracle staffers Thursday still chose to be tested for exposure to anthrax after hearing news about the preliminary results.

Other Oracle staffers weren’t tested, however, when they learned of the news. Doctors said there was no 100 percent accurate test for anthrax exposure. And if employees were healthy, there was no need to worry, they said.

If results came back positive, employees would be put on medication without being tested, doctors said.Managing Editor Selina Roman said she is still concerned, despite Thursday’s news.

“I’m relieved about the results of the situation here, but my mind is not at ease for the future,” she said. “It could happen again. There’s a possibility of it happening elsewhere. Not just at The Oracle.”

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