WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Anxiety over anthrax continued to spread Monday night as it was reported that an infant son of an ABC employee in New York became the latest victim of anthrax Monday after tests confirmed the baby had the less-threatening skin version, company executives and government officials said.
New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani said the child was being treated and "we expect a full and complete recovery."
Guiliani also said investigators had been sent to major media organizations -- he cited CBS and the New York Daily News -- to check mail rooms and other areas for possible contamination.
An NBC employee was exposed to anthrax last week, and a scare hobbled the New York Times for several hours Thursday when someone sent a reporter an envelope with a white powder. Workers at a group of tabloid magazines in Florida have also been diagnosed with anthrax, been exposed or died.
Ernesto Blanco, a 73-year-old mail room employee in Boca Raton, Fla., does have the disease. Blanco's diagnosis, reported by CNN, would be the third confirmed infection and may be the result of the more deadly inhaled form of anthrax.
Blanco is employed at tabloid publisher American Media Inc. His co-worker Bob Stevens, the 63-year-old photo editor at the Sun, died Oct. 5 from the inhaled form of anthrax. The other confirmed infection is of an employee at NBC Nightly News in New York. She has a less dangerous skin infection.
The report is just another in a series of new developments Monday including the first incident of such letters being sent to Congress.
A letter opened at the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Monday also tested positive for anthrax though a bag of a powdery substance found Monday outside a door in the hallway in front of the Capitol's Senate visitor's gallery turned out not to contain anthrax.
A total of 40 to 50 people are being treated with antibiotics, including staff from Daschle's personal district office and the Capitol Hill police and medical personnel who first responded to the call.
Part of the post office building was closed for cleanup in the area where the spores were found. Thirty-one employees at the facility already have been tested and no exposure was found. Health officials said no further testing on personnel or visitors was planned.
"A miniscule amount of anthrax spores has been found in a small non-public mail processing area in the Boca Raton main post office," postal inspector Del Alvarez said. "There is no indication that these spores pose a health risk to workers or visitors."
He said federal health workers would clean the area overnight. The facility was expected to reopen Tuesday morning.
A letter sent to a Microsoft company near Reno, Nev., also has tested positive for anthrax but it was not known whether the five or six workers who came into contact with it have been exposed to anthrax.
After a three-hour quarantine on a remote section of the runway at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, 155 passengers on a Continental Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Cleveland were given the all clear Monday afternoon. A white powder spewing from a fresh roll of toilet paper was found not to contain anthrax.
The drama began when the pilot radioed the control tower to report a possible anthrax attack on board his plane, Rueben Sheered, director of the port of Cleveland told United Press International.
Sheperd said shortly after leaving Las Vegas a flight attendant standing in one of the aircraft lavatories opened a package of new roll of toilet paper when "a white powdery substance was emitted from the package."
In Rhode Island, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., and nine office workers were being tested for anthrax exposure after a female staffer developed a skin rash on her hand. Kennedy aides said his office in Pawtucket had received and opened a letter from India last week, and while there was no reason initially to suspect anything, concerns were raised when the staffer developed a rash over the weekend.
Kennedy aide Larry Berman said no powder was found on the letter, and that the woman with the rash had not touched it. Tests were being conducted, but results were not immediately available.
A Continental plane was being held in Cleveland Monday afternoon, away from other aircraft and passengers, pending an inspection by health officials but it was not known whether it involved a report of anthrax.
Many additional reports, including one in Culver City, Calif., and two in St. Petersburg, Fla., and numerous scares on various airlines, have been investigated and ruled out as anthrax.
President Bush broke the news about the Daschle office incident Monday morning during an impromptu news conference.
"His office received a letter and it had anthrax in it. The letter was field tested and the staffers that have been exposed are being treated. The field -- the powder that had been field tested is now, obviously, going to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) CDC lab. And beyond that, I don't know more about it," Bush said.
Bush revealed the news when he paused to take questions during a welcoming ceremony for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the White House Rose Garden. Bush said while federal officials did not have hard evidence that bin Laden was responsible, "I wouldn't put it past him."
Federal law enforcement officials say they have not yet linked the anthrax cases to the attacks on Sept. 11, but refer to them as acts of terrorism because the intent is to frighten the public.
As a result of Monday's development, all mail service has been cut off in the complex and Daschle's office has been closed. Neither Daschle nor Lt. Dan Nichols, spokesman for the Capitol Hill Police, would go into any details on the letter, including whether it had a postmark from Trenton, N.J.
"This is a criminal investigation now and there is limited information we can put forward," Nichols said.
"At about 10:30 this morning, my office opened a suspicious package," Daschle told reporters. "It became clear that there was a suspicious substance in the envelope." Additional tests will be needed to confirm that the letter, in fact, has anthrax.
"We conducted field tests and the first test came back positive for anthrax," Nichols said. "We did a second test and that one also came back positive. It should be noted that these are preliminary tests; they are field tests only. We have sent the material out to Fort Dietrich, Md., for additional tests there."
Nichols said when the letter or package was opened, a powdery substance was discovered and police were notified.
"There was an exposure when the letter was opened," he said. "Following protocols, the staff immediately contacted Capitol Hill Police and contacted the attending physician."
Nichols said the police have been kept busy investigating reports. "There has been a significant increase in these types of calls today," he said but he would not say how many more or reveal details of the investigations.
He said Capitol tours have been suspended indefinitely "because they decided it would be in everyone's interest." The Capitol will be open for business on Tuesday and the gallery would be open for ticket holders. "You will not see us yielding to this terrorism," he added.
The Capitol's 40-block campus has undergone a remarkable security overhaul since Sept. 11, including stringent limits on access by tourists, new barriers and restrictions on traffic and an increased police presence. And with threats toward American targets being made almost everyday, Nichols said such an attack hardly surprised the authorities.
"It was not totally unexpected," he said.
Daschle -- who was working in his leadership office in the Capitol building two blocks away when the package was opened -- reacted with a mix of concern and anger.
"I'm deeply concerned for my staff," he said. "I feel badly for each of them. They are innocent people caught up in a matter of which they had nothing to do. I am very, very disappointed and angered."