CDC interim recommendations for protecting mail handlers from cutaneous and inhalational anthrax associated with intentional distribution of Bacillus anthracis through the mail
Source:HAN ; 045
Corporate Authors:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)
Series:HAN ; 045
Description:Wednesday, October 24, 2001, 22:30 EDT (10:30 PM EDT)
CDCHAN-00045-2001-10-24-ADV-N As of October 24, 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aware of five cases of inhalational anthrax among postal workers and mail handlers, including two fatal cases, as well as additional cases of cutaneous anthrax. These cases have been associated with exposure to mail contaminated with Bacillus anthracis. This document provides interim recommendations for protecting workers involved in mail sorting, distribution, and handling.
A program to reduce skin or respiratory exposures to B. anthracis spores may decrease the risk of anthrax disease in mail handlers. These interim recommendations are based on the limited information available on ways to avoid infection and the effectiveness of various prevention strategies. These recommendations will be updated as new information becomes available.
A hierarchy of measures should be used to control potential exposures to B. anthracis. These include, in hierarchical order, engineering controls to capture B. anthracis spores at potential points of release, housekeeping measures to reduce the spread of B. anthracis spores, and personal protective equipment to prevent worker exposure. The selection of these measures may be made after conducting a site-specific evaluation of the potential risk for B. anthracis exposure in each mail-handling facility. These recommendations should be incorporated into a comprehensive safety and health program for protecting mail handlers. A major source of dust in mail handling facilities occurs during the operation and maintenance of high-speed mail handling machines. The blowdown of these machines in the maintenance operation can aerosolize particles in the size range of B. anthracis spores. Pinch roller operations should be evaluated for their potential to force dustcontaining spores from envelopes.
The following recommendations are provided for workers potentially exposed to B. anthracis spores while handling or processing mail. These recommendations do not address instances where a known exposure has occurred. Mail facilities should develop an emergency plan to contain the hazards; this plan should be put into effect when a known or suspected exposure to B. anthracis occurs.
Event Type: anthrax terrorism event - Brentwood Postal Distribution Center
Context: worker protection
Event Type: Man-made
Agent Type: bacteria
Specify Agent (Name): anthrax
Supporting Files:No Additional Files
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